One of Ireland’s leading international sports stars Aileen Reid has been named Athlete of the Year after a season which saw her claim silver at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in what was the greatest individual performance ever by an Irish triathlete.
Reid was named Athlete of the Year at the Triathlon Ireland Awards Dinner in the Aviva Stadium where almost 300 elite and age group athletes, family and friends gathered for the annual medals ceremony for the sport.
Special guest at the event was double Paralympic Gold Medallist Mark Rohan as over 100 medals and awards were handed out to participants across the wide range of Triathlon Ireland events and age groups in 2013.
The highlight of the night, however, was undoubtedly the announcement of Reid (31), a member of the North West Triathlon club, as Athlete of the year. The award is voted on by members of Triathlon Ireland.
The Derry woman’s stunning performance in London at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final banished the memory of her fall on the same course in the London Olympics a year earlier. This time around Aileen would not be undone, putting in powerful performances in both the swim and bike before excelling in the run which took her to a silver medal, behind Britain’s new powerhouse Non Stanford, and ahead of Australia’s Emma Moffat – 2010 and 2009 World Triathlon Championships and Olympic bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics – in third.
Aileen, by virtue of this and other sterling performances over the course of the year, finished the 2013 season ranked 7th in the World.
Other big winners on the night were Kevin Thornton from Belpark TC in Dublin and Anna Crooks from the GoTri TC from Clare, who were presented with their awards as overall winners of the Vodafone National Series. The Vodafone Race of the Year went to Dublin City Triathlon while the Junior Athlete of the Year when to rising star Con Doherty in recognition of his many podium performances this season.
The Club Championship Awards were won by GoTri TC (Men) and Dublin based T3 TC (Women), with the Mixed Club Championship Award going to Belpark TC, Dublin.
Speaking at the event, Vodafone Ireland Chief Executive Anne O’Leary said: “After the high of the Olympic year and growth of the sport last year, 2013 somehow managed to even cap that. Triathlon continues to be one of Ireland’s fastest growth sports, with events up and down the country fully booked.
“At an individual level, we all stood in admiration of Aileen’s stunning performance in London. To show the courage to go back to the same course where her Olympic hopes were dashed last year and secure silver in the World Triathlon Series Grand Final was amazing. In that regard, Triathlon Ireland members have chosen very well for the Vodafone Athlete of the Year Award.”
Also speaking at the event, Triathlon Ireland CEO Chris Kitchen said: “It’s been a fantastic year for Triathlon Ireland with the sport continuing to develop at a rapid pace. The performances of our elite athletes on the international stage have been thrilling to watch while thousands of age group athletes are now competing around the country each weekend.”
“We owe much of this success to the hard working athletes, clubs, event organisers, staff and army of volunteers. Support from our sponsors and funding partners is another key ingredient in helping us to continue the rise of triathlon.”
Special guest Mark Rohan, a double Paralympic Gold medallist in hand cycling wrapped up the evening with an inspiring presentation about his journey to becoming a Paralympic medallist.