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Princess of Asturias Awards

06/08/2016

Javier Gómez Noya, Princess of Asturias Award for Sports

Spanish triathlete Javier Gómez Noya has been bestowed with the 2016 Princess of Asturias Award for Sports, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award. 

©FPA

Spanish triathlete Javier Gómez Noya has been bestowed with the 2016 Princess of Asturias Award for Sports, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

The Jury for the Award –convened by the Princess of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by Abel Antón Rodrigo and composed of Alejandro Blanco Bravo, Miriam Blasco Soto, Emilio Butragueño Santos, Marisol Casado Estupiñán, Josep María Casanovas i Punti, Joaquín Folch-Rusiñol Corachán, Juan Ignacio Gallardo Tomé, Patricia García Rodríguez, Cristina Mitre Aranda, Santiago Nolla Zayas, Josep Lluis Vilaseca i Guasch, Theresa Zabell Lucas and Julián Redondo Pérez (as acting secretary).

This candidature was put forward by José Hidalgo Martín, President of the Spanish Triathlon Federation.

Javier Gómez Noya was born on 25th March 1983 in Basel (Switzerland), where his parents worked, though his family moved to the town of Ferrol, in Coruña, when he was three months old. He started practising swimming at the age of 11, a sport in which he soon began to win regional titles in the younger categories. In 1998, he debuted in the Olympic triathlon competition held in Castropol (Asturias), in which, without having trained for the cycling or running stages, he came second in the junior category. Since then, he has competed exclusively in this type of competition, in which he has been highly successful, winning five world titles and a silver medal at the Olympic Games in London, the first to be won by a Spaniard in this discipline.

Reigning World and European champion and a unique triathlete who holds five World Championship titles, his career progressed rapidly. He was proclaimed Spanish Under-23 Duathlon and Triathlon champion and European Junior champion, despite the bureaucratic obstacles he had to overcome after being diagnosed with heart disease. In 2003, he participated in Under-23 World Championship in New Zealand where his triumph marked a turning point in his career, subsequently focussing his efforts on preparing for the Olympic Games in Athens. After participating in the World Cup in South Korea, where he came fourth, the Valencia European Championship and the World Championship in Madeira, a technical decision left him out of the Olympics. That same year, he was runner-up in the Spanish Triathlon and won the under-23 duathlon and triathlon, besides being among the top ten in two World Cup competitions. In 2005, he participated in the France Iron Tour, where he achieved the feat of winning the six stages making up the competition. He won numerous titles in 2006, the most important being the World Cup Championship, being the first Spaniard to do so. The following year, he kept up this level of competition, repeating his victory in the World Cup Championship, as well as winning the European Championship and coming runner-up in the World Championship, ending the year at the top of the world rankings. In 2008, he was proclaimed World Champion in Vancouver and came fourth in the Beijing Olympics. In 2009, he won the European Triathlon Championship in Holten (Netherlands) and was runner-up in the World Championship. In 2010, he won a gold medal once again at the World Cup Championship held in Budapest, with which he regained the ITU number one ranking, for the third time in his career. After winning the European Cup Championship and coming second in the 2011 ITU Sprint Distance Triathlon World Championship, in 2012 he added another European Championship to his track record and the silver medal in London 2012, the first to be won by a Spanish triathlete in the Olympic Games. In 2013, he won the middle distance European Championship and was proclaimed World Champion for the third time. The 2014 season has been his best year to date, winning his fourth World Cup Championship, which then made him, along with British triathlete Simon Lessing, the holder of the most World Championship titles. In 2015, Noya led the world ranking and won his fifth World Cup gold medal, the only triathlete ever to do so. He decided not to compete in the 2016 World Cup Championship in order to focus on preparing for the Olympic Games in Rio, a decision which did not prevent him from winning his fourth European Championship title, however.

Among other distinctions, he has received the Best Newcomer Prize at the 2003 Galicia Sports Awards, the title of Best National Triathlete (2006 and 2009) and the Mutualidad General Deportiva Incentive Award (2007). He was bestowed with the Silver Medal of the Royal Order of Sports Merit in 2008 and, in 2012, was named Galician of the Year by El Correo Gallego newspaper. Best Galician Sportsman in 2015, he has also been awarded the Silver Medal of Ferrol (2016).

As stated in the Statutes of the Foundation, the Princess of Asturias Awards are aimed at rewarding “the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. In keeping with these principles, the Princess of Asturias Award for Sports shall be conferred on those “whose lives and work are not only examples to others, but who have also contributed in an extraordinary manner through their efforts to the advancement, nurturing, fostering or dissemination of sport”.

This year a total of 20 candidatures from Andorra, Argentina, France, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States, Ukraine and Spain ran for the award.

This is the fifth of eight Princess of Asturias Awards to be bestowed this year, now in their thirty-sixth edition. The Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts went to Spanish actress and stage director Nuria Espert, the Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities was granted to American photojournalist James Nachtwey, the Princess of Asturias for Social Sciences went to British historian Winifred Mary Beard and the Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research went to American mechanical engineer and biophysicist Hugh Herr. The remaining awards will be announced in the coming weeks in the following order: Literature and International Cooperation, with the Award for Concord being announced in September.

Each of the Princess of Asturias Awards comprises a Joan Miró sculpture – representing and symbolizing the Awards–, a cash prize of 50,000 euros, a diploma and an insignia. The awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a grand ceremony chaired by TM The King and Queen of Spain.

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