Britain's solo sailing star receives top sporting award for her Route du Rhum win

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, Brazilian footballer Ronaldo picked up the top award ahead of MacArthur who was honoured in third place for her contribution to sport after winning her class on board Kingfisher in the 2002 Route du Rhum race.

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 the monohull Kingfisher. The fleet were battered by huge storms at the start of the race from St Malo, France to Guadeloupe forcing many 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”.