Rick Zamperin: Heather Bansley is the right choice for Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year

Heather Bansley of Canada in action during the final of the match of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour of Chetumal 2018 between the USA and Canada, in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico, on Oct. 28, 2018. EPA/ALONSO CUPUL

Congratulations, Heather Bansley.

The beach volleyball star has been named the 2018 Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year and has taken home the Bill Sturrup Trophy as a result.

The 31-year-old Waterdown native beat out former Hamilton Bulldogs star Brandon Saigeon and L.A. Clippers rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

READ MORE: Heather Bansley named 2018 Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year

As a member of the Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year committee, the decision was not an easy one.

Each of the three finalists accomplished amazing feats last year, and they were all worthy of the honour, something with which committee members really wrestled.

Bansley, along with partner Brandie Wilkerson, claimed the No. 1 world ranking in beach volleyball after winning gold medals at World Cup events in Las Vegas, Mexico and Poland as well as a silver in the Czech Republic and a bronze medal in Brazil.

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READ MORE: Hamilton’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander goes 11th overall in NBA draft

Saigeon was a key contributor to the Bulldogs’ Ontario Hockey League championship in 2017-18, and it’s not every day that someone from Hamilton is drafted into the NBA, as Gilgeous-Alexander was last summer.

In the end, Bansley broke away as the favourite because — save for winning an Olympic gold medal — she had attained the highest level of achievement in a global sport.

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