Photo: SportAccordEsther Vergeer receives her 2014 Spirit of Sport Award
Seven-time Paralympic wheelchair tennis gold medallist Esther Vergeer has been honoured in the 2014 Spirit of Sport Awards, which were presented on Friday at the SportAccord General Assembly in Antalya, Turkey.
Vergeer was presented with the Spirit of Sport Individual Award by Mr Marius Vizer, SportAccord President. The Spirit of Sport Awards are given each year in recognition of the use of sport as a tool towards positive social change and lasting benefit for communities and individuals throughout the world.
The 13-time ITF World Champion, who won a total of eight medals across four Paralympic Games, announced her retirement from competitive wheelchair tennis in February 2013 but remains heavily involved in promoting the sport through clinics and the work of the Esther Vergeer Foundation.
“It is a great honour to receive this recognition now that my playing career is over,” said a delighted Vergeer. “But this is not for my sports performance, it goes way beyond me. It is recognition that sport can mean a lot, especially for children with disabilities and it is great recognition for the Esther Vergeer Foundation.”
It is the second year that the wheelchair tennis has been recognised in the Spirit of Sport Awards. Two awards are presented annually, to one individual and one project, and in 2013 the Spirit of Sport Award for best project was presented to the ITF for the work of the Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund.
SportAccord consists of 92 full members and 16 Associate members from both Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations as well as organisers of international sporting events.