Sailors Anna Burnet and John Gimson have been named joint September Athletes’ Athletes of the Month after setting a new world record for an important cause.
Anna and John sailed from Belfast Ballyholme to Port Patrick in 1:30.41; bettering the existing record by seven minutes. In testing conditions, the pair didn’t just fly across the water, they also took on the challenge to raise awareness of the climate crisis.
They were accompanied by Pioneer of Belfast, the world’s first fully electric and commercially viable foiling vessel, in an effort to highlight green technology within the sailing industry. At 21 miles, the Northern Ireland-Scotland route mirrors that of thousands of ferry crossings globally, with Anna and John striving to show that a vessel can handle the journey without burning fossil fuels.
After the event the pair used their platform and the interest in their world record to encourage steps to combat the climate crisis both within their sport and beyond.
Their efforts topped a poll among elite British athletes to decide who on the World Class Programme deserved most recognition for their successes last month.
Speaking to the BEAA, Anna said: “[The climate crisis] is something that’s we’ve been growing increasingly aware of in the last few years and it’s got to the point where we’re excited to hopefully start to make an impact in a small way.”
“It’s a cause to us which is important because we spend our whole lives in ports and marinas around the world,” John added. “I think it’s time for the world to change and the technology is now there.”
The pair led a nominee list comprised of Tom Gale (athletics), Hector Pardoe (swimming) and Kim Woods (canoeing), each of whom also enjoyed personally impressive months.
The Athletes’ Athlete of the Month award is given to elite British sportspeople for their achievements in competition or elsewhere, such as personal development, inspiring comebacks, charity work, awareness raising and more.
It celebrates successes across elite British sport, and commends more than just competitive accomplishment – with every winner decided by the athlete community.
Thank you to every athlete who voted, and congratulations to Anna and John for winning, as well as to Tom, Hector and Kim for their nominations.
Elite British athletes, to cast your vote next time, keep an eye on your emails from the BEAA!
Image: World Sailing