By Paul Groves on 12/02/17 at 12:40 pm
2016 saw the first of the new-style Annual Awards Gala Dinner, with representatives of the many European Triathlon Federations in attendance. Hosted by the Fédération Française de Triathlon at the stunning Comité National Olympique Sportif Français C.N.O.S.F.
This time next week the Congress will be over, some new faces may be on the committees and board and the Annual Awards will have been handed out.
Last year, with the nominations made public some time before the event, it was with building excitement that those attending and especially those awaiting the opening of each envelope for each category, sat down to enjoy their black-tie dinner.
The nominations in 2016, looking back to 2015, were as follows:-
- Female athlete of the year: Vicky Holland, Rachel Klamer, Nicola Spirig and Yuliya Yelistratova
- Male athlete of the year: Uxío Abuín Ares, Gordon Benson, David Hauss and Javier Gomez
- National Federation of the year: France, Great Britain and Spain
- Emerging/developing National Federation of the year: Croatia, Romania and Slovenia
- Technical Official of the year: Jorge Garcia, Stéfane Mauris, Laura Patti, Dr Béla Varga
- Organiser of the year: Geneva, Holten, Sochi, Tiszaújváros.
- Executive Board Award
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 Athlete of the Year 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. Béla 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.
The ETU Executive Board Award went to the hosts. Fédération Française de Triathlon, for their wonderful support in hosting so many top-quality events, for hosting the recent INSEP meeting and for welcoming so many people to celebrate the successes of 2015.
Along with the awards, the ETU Family was entertained by some very important guests; From Portugal came Vanessa Fernandes. Inducted to the ITU Hall of Fame, she dominated the world of triathlon winning title after title as a Junior, U23 and Elite athlete and taking silver in Beijing in the 2008 Olympic Games. We heard that she had not retired but was instead posting super-fast marathon times and we now hear that she is due to race again in 2017.
From Denmark came Camilla Pedersen. When she took the stage and the room fell silent as we all saw behind her a photo of her lying in bed, unconscious, in an intensive care unit, plugged into all sorts of machines. She gave a truly heartfelt account of the crash, her time in hospital and her recovery. Not many people present were spared a tear or two. For her, a battle cry, "Anything is possible".
There is no such thing as a free dinner and so both Vanessa Fernandes and Camilla Pedersen were invited to present the first sequence of awards.
This year we will again see the presentation of awards and this year the Congress and Gala Dinner is hosted by the Federazione Italiana Triathlon.
The Nominees for the 2016 season are:
- Female athlete of the year: Helen Jenkins, India Lee, Nicola Spirig and Yuliya Yelistratova
- Male athlete of the year: Alistair Brownlee, Javier Gomez, Mario Mola and Rostislav Pevtsov
- National Federation of the year: Austria, Great Britain and Spain
- Emerging/developing National Federation of the year: Estonia, Romania and Slovenia
- Technical Official of the year: Stéfane Mauris, Andreas Galanos, Sarah Taylor and John Petrides
- Organiser of the year: Madrid, Otepää, Tiszaújváros, Walchsee
- Executive Board Award: To be announced on the night.
Those in attendance will be treated not only to this amazing line-up but also to some true legends; our guest-speakers. Olympian twins, Isabelle and Béatrice Mouthon will be joined by fellow Olympian Rob Barel.
For a look back to the 2016 Gala Dinner, click here.