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Princess of Asturias Award for Sports 2016
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.
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. He won his fourth World Cup Championship in 2014, making him the holder of the most World Championship titles along with British triathlete Simon Lessing. He led the world ranking in 2015, in addition to winning his fifth World Cup gold medal, the only triathlete ever to do so. After winning his fourth European Championship title in 2016, a fractured arm prevented him from competing in the Rio Olympics.
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).
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