MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s world and European triathlon champion Javier Gomez Noya has won his country’s most prestigious sports award, the Princess of Asturias prize, for his “brilliant achievements”.
Gomez Noya, the only triathlete to win five world titles, will attempt to clinch gold at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio after claiming silver in London in 2012.
“Besides his indisputable and brilliant achievements, the jury has recognized the values of effort, perseverance against adversity… enormous strength and commendable spirit of improvement throughout his career,” the jury said on Wednesday in announcing their decision.
Gomez Noya follows Spain’s NBA players Pau Gasol and his brother Marc who won the award last year.
The 33-year-old received more votes than finalists American skier Lindsey Vonn, the New Zealand Rugby team and French rally driver Sebastien Loeb to capture the award.
“This recognition gives me a lot of satisfaction considering the level of the other finalists,” Noya told Spanish media. “They all deserved it as much or even more than I do.
“But I’m very proud of this international prestigious award for the importance it has for a sport that is not among the most covered by the media.”
(Writing by Cindy Garcia, Editing by Ken Ferris)