SINGAPORE – The accolades keep coming for Maximilian Maeder as the kitefoiling star was part of the list of nominees for World Sailing’s Male Sailor of the Year released on Tuesday.
The 17-year-old is the first Singaporean nominated for the prestigious annual awards, launched in 1994 to recognise the outstanding achievements of individual and team sailors. The winners will be announced on Nov 14 in Malaga, Spain.
Maximilian, who is on his way to his training camp in Croatia, said on Wednesday: “I am surprised and grateful for the nomination, especially grateful to the many people who have made my journey possible. It means a lot to me if this could bring recognition to the sport and sailing in Singapore.”
He has set notable milestones in 2023. He first won the Formula Kite Youth World Championships in Gizzeria, Italy, in July before securing a spot for the 2024 Paris Olympics and claiming the world title at the Sailing World Championships a month later in The Hague, Netherlands.
He then went on to win a gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou at the end of September.
He faces stiff competition though from the other nominees. They are Australia’s two-time world sailor of the year Tom Slingsby (he guided Team Australia to victory in last season’s SailGP), American Charlie Enright (winning skipper of the 11th Hour Racing Team in The Ocean Race) and Dutch pair and 49er world champions Bart Lambriex and Floris Van de Werken.
The nominees in the female category are Betsy Alison of the United States, South African Kirsten Neuschafer, France’s Lauriane Nolot, as well as Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler of Sweden.
Singapore Sailing Federation president Lincoln Chee said being on the shortlist was a recognition of Maximilian “consistent outstanding performance in elite sailing and his impact on his chosen sport of Formula Kite”.
He added: “To receive a Rolex World Male Sailor of the Year nomination is one of the highest recognition in World Sailing.
“No Singaporean sailor has ever received such an honour and Singapore Sailing congratulates Max for this new milestone in our history.”
Maximilian, who captured the Sportsboy of the Year at the Singapore Sports Awards in August, has two more regattas scheduled for 2024. He will head to Zhuhai, China for the last leg of the Kitefoil World Series on Nov 29, before ending his season at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Buzios, Brazil, on Dec 8.
Online voting is open at sailing.org/world-sailing-awards-2023 and closes at midnight UTC on Oct 30.