Another major award for MacArthur

This time as gala ceremony in Paris

Thursday June 26th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
Two years ago at the 2001 BBC Sports Personality Awards, David Beckham secured top spot as the nation's favourite sports personality...Ellen was named runner-up, an amazing feat for a sailor who few had heard of a few months before.

On Tuesday night at the French Académies des Sports awards in Paris, the Henry Deutsch de la Meurthe's Prize was awarded to MacArthur for winning her class in the solo trans-Atlantic Route du Rhum race last November on board her Open 60 monohull Kingfisher. The fleet were battered by huge storms at the start of the race from St Malo, France to Guadeloupe forcing a majority of the faster multihulls to retire. Kingfisher was the first boat to finish in 13 days and 31 minutes beating the Open 60 course record set by Yves Parlier.

The Académies des Sports Grand Prix award went to Ronaldo for "the most beautiful sporting exploit accomplished in the world". In second place was France's downhill skier Carole Montillet who picked up the Olympic Grand Prix award. Britain's Paula Radcliffe was awarded the Monique Berlioux's Prize for the women's "most remarkable performance in the past year".

"It was another memorable evening," said MacArthur. "Not least to stand by sports people of this stature but to see the enthusiasm for sport nurtured by the Académie des Sports."

The glamorous awards attending by many of the world's top sporting personalities as well as many of France's leading political and sporting ministers including Jean-Louis Debre, President of the French Parliament, Jean-Francois Lamour, France's Sports Minister and Jean Todt, Sport Director of Ferrari and member of the Académie des Sports.

MacArthur attended the awards with her French-based sponsor, CASTORAMA, the major French DIY retail brand of Kingfisher plc, accompanied by Philippe Tible, Castorama CEO, Philippe Verashelt, Castorama Director of Operations and Stephen Roberston, Director of Kingfisher Challenges.

Only 5 awards were given to sporting personalities outside of France. The Académie des Sports was founded in 1894 and has honoured leading sportsmen and women since 1911.

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