Tennis player Stan Wawrinka and triathlete Daniela Ryf have been named Swiss Athletes of the Year, both winning the award for the first time.
Team of the Year at the Credit Suisse Sports Awards on Sunday night went to the Swiss lightweight rowing foursome, and Newcomer of the Year was Breel Embolo, the 18-year-old footballer for FC Basel who has been attracting a lot of international attention.
Wawrinka, 30, was runner-up last year to six-time winner Roger Federer – despite Wawrinka winning a grand slam title and Federer failing to, prompting accusations of bias against the French-speaking part of the country.
This year the positions were reversed, with Wawrinka getting 39% of votes (a combination of athletes, media and the public) to Federer’s 23%. Third place went to skier Patrick Küng (14%).
“This award really means a lot to me,” Wawrinka said. “ I’m proud to be part of yet another fantastic Swiss sporting year.”
Wawrinka made headlines around the world in June when he defeated Novak Djokovic to win the French Open. Federer failed to win a grand slam title but finished the year ranked third, one position above Wawrinka.
The vote was much closer for the women. Daniela Ryf, the 2015 Ironman World Champion, pipped gymnast Giulia Steingruber by 26.57% to 25.14%.
Ryf, 28, made history earlier this month when she pocketed a one million-dollar bonus for winning all three races in the Nasser Bin Hamad Triple Crown series.
Switzerland’s four lightweight rowers – Simon Schürch, Simon Niepmann, Lucas Tramèr and Mario Gyr – won gold at both the European and World Championships.
swissinfo.ch and agencies