Kingston, October 18, 2023 – Sarah Douglas from Toronto and Fillah Karim from Vancouver received the Sail Canada 2022 Gallagher Skippers’ Plan Athletes of the Year Awards during Canada’s Celebration of Sailing event held by Sail Canada and the Port Credit Yacht Club on Tuesday.
The Gallagher Skippers’ Plan 2023 Athletes of the Year Awards are given out annually to two current Canadian Sailing Team or Development Squad members athletes/teams of different gender identities.
The selected athletes have shown a record of outstanding achievement in national and international competition and have brought recognition to Canadian competitive sailing, set an example for other competitors through behaviour and manner, and have demonstrated leadership and sportsmanship.
Sarah Douglas has been selected as a winner of the Gallagher Skippers’ Plan Athlete of the Year Award for the fourth time.
During the time period ranging from January 1 to December 31, 2022, she won the gold medal in ILCA 6 at the World Sailing World Cup held at the 51st Princess Sofia Trophy in Spain, her first podium finish at a World Sailing competition and, by the same token, her first career gold medal. That was the first major Olympic multiclass competition to take place following the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Leading up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, France seems to bring luck to Sarah Douglas as she also took the 5th spot at the 2022 French Olympic Week event, as well as the 6th position at the 2022 ILCA European Championships, also held in France.
“I’m super honoured to be awarded the Sail Canada 2022 Gallagher Skippers’ Plan Athlete of the Year Award,” said Sarah Douglas. “It has been a really busy year with a lot of ups and downs, but I’m really proud of the work that we put in this year.”
“I might be on the boat by myself, but it truly does take a village. So first and foremost, I want to thank my sailing coach, Vaughn Harrison. We have been working together for seven years, and I’m really proud of the partnership that we’ve created, grown, and continue to develop towards Paris 2024. I also want to thank my family, my friends, the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, Sail Canada and Ontario Sailing. The list really could go on, but I want to thank even the people who just say hello, help me load my laser onto a car or a trailer, my donors, my sponsors… There are so many people I can thank; I just want to say thank you to everyone.”
“I am truly honoured to represent Canada and everyone on the world stage, and to be able to continue on this pursuit of excellence. Thank you so much and I hope to see you soon!”
Fillah Karim has also been announced as a winner of the Gallagher Skippers’ Plan Athlete of the Year Award.
In 2022, the sailor from Vancouver, B.C., took second place at the US Open Sailing Series in Clearwater, in addition to finishing in 13th place at the Kiel Week event, 28th at the French Olympic Week competition, 34th at the ILCA European Championships and 44th at the World Sailing World Cup at the 51st Princess Sofia Trophy.
He also took the 43rd position at the ILCA 7 World Championships, which represented a personal best for him at the World Championships. It was also the first time since 2016 that Canada had two Canadian sailors qualified for the Gold Fleet in that event, the other being Tom Ramshaw.
“I’m really honoured to have been selected for this award,” said Fillah Karim. “I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been supporting me on this journey as we work towards the Paris 2024 Olympic Games: my coach Andrew Lewis, my training partners, the supporters of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, my family and Sail Canada. Thank you very much to everyone!”
More information about the Gallagher Skippers’ Athletes of the Year Awards is available at https://www.sailing.ca/the-skippers-plan-athletes-teams-of-the-year-past-winners/.
The winners were announced during Canada’s 3rd annual Celebration of Sailing where awards were presented to Sarah Douglas, who was on site, as well as to Annie Balasubramanian, named as one of the 2022 Bill Burk Memorial Youth Elite Award winners; Alex Byczko, the 2022 Instructor of the Year, presented by Checklick; Paul Brennan as Volunteer of the Year; as well as Melodie Schaffer as Sail Canada’s 2023 Rolex Sailor of the Year.
Canada’s Celebration of Sailing celebrates performances and experiences of Canada’s high-performance sailors of the past, present and future. This year’s reception was attended by over 125 sailors of all ages, including members and alumni of Sail Canada’s National Team and Development Squad members, and several supporters of Canadian sailing.
About Sail Canada
Established in 1931, Sail Canada is the national governing body for the sport of sailing in the country. Sail Canada is a leading international sailing nation, proud of its world class athletes, lifelong participants and inclusive culture. The organization and its members are committed to excellence by developing and training its leaders, athletes, sailors, instructors, coaches and officials. With the valued support from our partners, the Provincial Sailing Associations and our member clubs, schools, organizations and stakeholders, sailing is promoted in all its forms. By setting standards and delivering programs from home pond to podium for Canadians of all ages and abilities, from dinghies to keelboats, cruising to navigation, windsurfing to powerboating and accessible sailing, Sail Canada sets sail for all, sail to win and sail for life.
A sport in the Olympic program since the first Games in 1896, except in 1904, the pursuit of success in these Games is what fuels the focus of Sail Canada as Canadian athletes have so far achieved nine Olympic and five Paralympic medals.