The Presidents and representatives from 33 European National Federations, along with 15 Local Organising Committees, who will play a vital role in this years’ sporting calendar, recently attended a Gala organized by the European Triathlon Union (ETU) in Paris, in which Nicola Spirig and Javier Gomez Noya were named the best European Athletes of the Year.
Marisol Casado, President of ITU and IOC Member, spoke to the delegates, explaining how thrilled she was that Europe was such a triathlon success and “top of the top” in terms of events and athletes. She thanked the numerous “unsung heroes” that make up the various committees and who, despite having full-time jobs, are still able to dedicate many hours of their own time to making sure that our sport is run so successfully. She gave notice that she wishes to continue in her present role as President and hoped that Europe can continue to give her such solid support.
The conference was hosted by the Fédération Française de Triathlon, and was opened by FFTRI President, Philippe Lescure who spoke about the positive developments of events in his country but also about the sad loss of their great sportsman, Laurent Vidal, and the recent tragedies in France.
During the gala, ETU President Renato Bertrandi identified some of the great successes of 2015. Looking forward to 2016, he shared with the conference the fact that so many significant events were due to take place in Europe, in this 2016 Olympic year: the ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships in Austria, the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Rotterdam and the ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships in Zofingen, as well as three World Triathlon Series races and three World Cups.
After seminars and presentations, it was time for the Gala dinner and the Best of 2015 Awards.
The Female Athlete of the Year was awarded to Nicola Spirig. The reigning Olympic gold medallist and Swiss triathlete won this year’s European Championship, as well as the Baku European Games, in addition to securing third at World Triathlon Cape Town.
The Male Award was given, without any hesitation, to Spaniard Javier Gomez, who became the only athlete to win five ITU World Championships at the standard distance. He also won the Rio Test Event in 2015 to secure his spot at the 2016 Olympics.
The winner of Developing National Federation category was awarded to Croatia, a federation that had ensured it fully embraced the work done by the ETU Development Camps, whose athletes had performed well at ETU events around the region and who had actively supported its newly-trained coaches and technical officials.
Great Britain was presented with the National Federation of the Year award, especially noted for the Federation’s highly successful Age Group athletes, as well as incredible success on the elite level.
The winner of the Technical Official of the year was given to Dr. Bela Varga and Jorge García for their hard work in challenging circumstances and for working with such a diverse team at the Baku 2015 European Games.
The ETU European Championship held in Geneva was awarded with the Best Event of the Year for a truly stunning event that set incredibly high standards.