Marc Márquez and Mireia Belmonte, Catalan sport personalities of 2014
Catalan motor cycle rider Marc Márquez has received the 2014 Sportsman of the Year award by the Barcelona sports daily ‘Mundo Deportivo’. The youngest rider to win the MotoGP World Championship defended his title last year, winning his second Championship thanks to a record-breaking 13 victories. In the female category, Sportswoman of the Year went to Catalan swimmer Mireia Belmonte, who won four gold medals at the Short Pool World Championship as well as breaking the world record in two different categories. This is the third consecutive year that the Catalan swimmer has been awarded with this prize. The prizes have been given at the 67th edition of the 'Mundo Deportivo' Gala. Apart from rewarding the top sportspeople of the year, the Gala also recognizes the work of some sports organizations as well as people related to sport in the social field.
Barcelona (ACN).- Marc Márquez and Mireia Belmonte have been named joint sports personalities of 2014 by the Barcelona newspaper 'Mundo Deportivo'. Catalan rider Marc Márquez won the male category. The youngest rider to win the MotoGP World Championship, Marquez defended his title last year, winning his second Championship thanks to a record-breaking 13 victories. The Catalan swimmer Mireia Belmonte won in the female category becoming the sportswoman of the year for the third consecutive time. In 2014, Belmonte won four gold medals at the Short pool World Championship as well as breaking the world record in two different categories. She also won six medals in the European Championship. Every year, the 'Mundo Deportivo' Gala rewards the efforts of sport personalities. During its 67th edition, other prizes were given to recognize the work of some entities and people related to sport in the social field.
Last year, Márquez and his brother Alex became the first brothers to be proclaimed World Champions in the same season. Marc, who has four World Championship titles in different categories, told the Catalan News Agency that he was delighted to be at the Gala although he was impatient to return to the training sessions in Malaysia. Márquez told CNA he wants to keep "the same mentality as always", to stay ambitious and to go "always faster".
On the other hand, Belmonte told CNA that this past year had been "very intense" and that she had "learned a lot" while admitting that in 2014 she had had incredibly good luck and very few bad. Now she is focused on the next World Championships and Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, in 2016. Belmonte has been given the award for the third consecutive time, just one less than the all-time biggest winner, athlete Carmen Valero.
Last year, tennis player Rafael Nadal and Belmonte were the winners of the sport personality of the year awards. The ‘Mundo Deportivo’ Gala’s origins lie in the Best Spanish Sports Star Contest created in 1948. Since 1966, the newspaper is the organizer of the event bringing together more than 1,000 personalities from the sports world. Other sportspeople who have won the award in past editions are Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández, the cyclist Miguel Indurain or the Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso.
During the first part of the gala, nine sports stars and entities received different awards for their work over the last year.
As was to be expected, football was also present in the Gala. Former Barça captain Carles Puyol was awarded the Trophy of Excellence for his professional career. His teammates at Barça Javier Mascherano and Dani Alves were also awarded prizes for leadership and fair play. French handball star Nikola Karabatic handed Mascherano his award for his motivation work on the playing field. Alves was awarded the Fair Play Trophy due to the famous incident at the El Madrigal stadium in Villareal when a spectator through a banana at the player. Alves, instead of falling into the trap, decided to eat the banana and continue with the game, saying no to racism.
The emotional moment of the night came when Greek football player Georgios Samaras was called to the stage. He received the trophy for the best sporting gesture, in reference to his action of carrying to the playing field a young supporter with Down Syndrome to celebrate the victory of his team. Samaras was not at the Gala so little Jay Beatty received the award in representation of him. Other prizes involved the world of football. German coach Joachim Löw received the best Manager Award for his success at the World Cup in Brazil and the Trophy for sports development went to the RCD Espanyol’s youth squads.
Rally drivers Marc Coma and Laia Sanz were awarded with the Trophy for their sporting achievements and the water polo teams CN Atlètic Barceloneta and the CN Sabadell received the Collective Effort Trophy. Finally, Carolina Marín was awarded the Trophy for the most international Spanish sports star due to her spectacular victory at the Badminton World Championship, being the first European in the last fifteen years to be crowned champion.