By Brazilian Paralympic Committee
Brazilian judoka Alana Maldonado and football five-a-side player Ricardinho Alves were named the respective best female and male athletes of 2018 by the Brazilian Paralympic Committee on Wednesday (12 December).
In a glittering ceremony at the Paralympic Training Centre in Sao Paulo, Maldonado and Ricardinho were chosen because of their performances at World Championships in 2018.
It is the eighth edition of the awards ceremony which was broadcast by SporTV.
"It's a night we had a lot to celebrate. There were several medals and performances in 2018 that made us proud and made us happy, and we also had important projects that started in 2018, like the Paralympic Training Centre. There is no better place than here to celebrate and thank our athletes and teams, "said Mizael Conrado, President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee.
Born in Tupã, in the centre of São Paulo, Alana Maldonado won the title of best female athlete for the second consecutive year. This season the 23-year-old won an unprecedented world title for Brazil, with victory in the up to 70kg at the 2018 IBSA Judo World Championships. Maldonado also claimed gold at two other international events in Germany and Brazil in 2018.
"It was a very blessed year, with a sense of accomplishment, the goal was achieved even in a season that I had an injury, but I was able to recover. Since starting judo I dreamed of this moment and made history by winning the first gold medal in at the World Championships” Maldonado said.
Ricardinho Alves was the highlight of the squad that took Brazil’s fifth world title in Madrid, Spain. In addition to being top scorer of the competition, the Osório Gaucho also contributed to his club team, Agafuc-RS, winning the national title. It is the first time a five-a-side footballer has won Athlete of the Year.
"It was a golden year. With my team I played four competitions and I won them all. We were champions in the World Cup, I scored in the final, I was top scorer and best player. I am very happy and we will think about next year, when we will have Copa America and the Parapan in Lima," said Ricardinho, who turns 30 on Saturday (15 December).
Coaches and team staff from blind and visually impaired sports also picked up awards.
Denilson Lourenço, a mentor to Maldonado, was named as Best Coach for individual sports. Alessandro Tosim, the men’s goalball coach who saw his team win the world title in Malmo, Sweden, was awarded the Best Coach for team sports.
The President of the International Paralympic Committee, Andrew Parsons, received the Aldo Miccolis Prize for lifetime achievement. A former President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee from 2009-2017, Parsons was presented with the honour by Mizael Conrado, the current head of the organisation.
The full list of winners in all categories and sports can be found at the Brazilian Paralympic Committee's website.