Dias and Maldonado win Brazil Paralympic Awards

Swimmer and judoka recognised for their achievements in 2017

a male Para swimmer celebrates on the podium Dias was named Brazil's male athlete of the year while competing at Mexico City 2017 © • Getty Images

Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias and judoka Alana Maldonado have been named Brazil's best male and female Para athletes of 2017.

Dias is currently in Mexico City, where he is taking part of the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships. Earlier in 2017, the Paralympic multi-medallist was crowned winner of the first World Para Swimming World Series. It was the third time Dias received the award, having also won it in 2011 and 2013.

"I am really flattered by getting this award for a third time. It is gratifying to know that I have people's support. I couldn't be there because I am in Mexico representing Brazil, but I just want to say a huge thank you all for that," said Dias through a video message.

Maldonado meanwhile was the first judoka to be nominated for the yearly award. A gold medallist in the Tashkent Judo World Cup and silver medallist in the Sao Paulo International Grand Prix, Alana was emotional during her speech.

"It is an absolute incredible moment to me. I want to thank my coaching staff, my judo colleagues and my family, who supports me day in and day out. Thank you so much for everything," said the 22-year-old, who's been a judoka for only three years and was a silver medallist in the up to 70kg category at Rio 2016.

For the first time, Brazil's Paralympic Award featured the People's Athlete category, in which the public could choose their favourite Paralympic sportsperson. After an open first round on National Paralympic Committee’s Facebook page, athletics' Andre Rocha, Brendow Christian and Veronica Hipolito were the finalists. F52 discus thrower Rocha took the best of his fellow athletes with 60.31 per cent of the votes. He was followed by Hipolito (22.34 per cent) and Christian (17.35 per cent).

Furthermore, the Brazilian Paralympic Committee honoured athletes from each of the 22 sports in the Summer Paralympic programme. The full list of awards can be found on the Brazilian Paralympic Committee’s website (in Portuguese).