Rempel named junior female athlete of year at Canadian Sport Awards

Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was named the junior female athlete of the year for 2003 at the Canadian Sport Awards Tuesday night at a ceremony held at the CBC broadcasting centre in Toronto.

Rempel who resides in Calgary, earned the award after finishing first overall at the world junior championships in 2003 and eighth in the 1,000-metre event at the world sprint championships.

She also set two world junior records setting a new standard in the 500m with a time of 38.53 seconds and a new sprint combined points total with 154.480.

Kayaker David Ford captured the male athlete of the year honour beating out fellow kayaker Adam Van Koeverden and speed skater Jeremy Wotherspoon.

Ford, a native of Chilliwack, B.C., was a Canadian kayaking champion in 2003 and finished first in the World Cup ranking event.

Perdita Felicien received another honour Tuesday when she was named the female athlete of the year.

Felicien, a native of Pickering, Ont., was a gold medallist in the 100-metre hurdles at the world championships last summer in France. She also finished second at the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic.

Felicien, who has got off to a good start in 2004 with a gold medal at the world indoor championships, was also named The Canadian Press female athlete of the year for 2003.

Diver Emilie Heymans and skier Melanie Turgeon were also nominated for the award

Olympic cross-country skier Beckie Scott of Vermilion, Alta., earned the Spirit of Sport Story of the Year Award.

Scott recently had her bronze medal from the Salt Lake City Olympics upgraded to gold after two Russian skiers were disqualified for positive drug tests.

In other awards: the Canadian men's hockey team that won a gold medal at the world championships in Finland were named the male team of the year; the Canadian women's soccer squad that finished fourth at the 2003 World Cup won the women's team award and Rowing coach Mike Spracklen was named coach of the year after leading the men's eights and men's coxless four to gold medals at the 2003 world championships.

The Canadian Sport Awards are presented annually by the Spirit of Sport Foundation. Winners in the athlete categories were selected from a list of nominees using input from a panel of athletes, media representatives and coaches as well as complex formula developed by consulting firm KPMG.

You can watch the awards show tonight on CBC at 7 pm eastern.