Saber fencer Áron Szilágyi and canoeist Tamara Csipes were chosen as Athletes of the Year by the Hungarian Sports Journalists’ Association, which has awarded the best athletes of the year for the 64th time. In addition, the best para-atheletes and the sports moment of the year were also chosen.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
The “Athlete of the Year” gala was held on Thursday evening in the National Theater of Budapest, after last year’s celebration had to be called off due to the coronavirus situation.
This year’s guest of honor at the event was former Irish cyclist Stephen Roche, who won the 1987 UCI Road World Championships in addition to Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.
The first prize went to e-sports driver “Williams_Fuvaros,” a.k.a. Patrik Blazsán, a key figure in the binary FIA GT World Championship. The best disabled team of the year award went to the women’s wheelchair fencing team (Gyöngyi Dani, Zsuzsanna Krajnyák, Dr. Boglárka Mező Madarászné, Éva Hajmási – Paralympic bronze medal).
Amarilla Veres, Gyöngyi Dani and Zsuzsanna Krajnyák.
“It is a great honor to be here! We have had a very, very difficult year, and we reached third place in Tokyo on a very difficult journey. I am sorry that no one could see our bronze medal match live. We are grateful to our coaches, families, and friends,” Zsuzsanna Krajnyák said.
“Recreational Sports Event of the Year” was a new category that went to the Buzánszky Jenő University Football Cup in Debrecen.
Saber fencer Áron Szilágyi was elected Sportsman of the Year ahead of wrestler Tamás Lőrincz and swimmer Kristóf Milák. The 31-year-old made an historic victory at the Tokyo Olympics as he emerged the first saber fencer in the world in the individual event to win the gold medal in three consecutive Olympics. This was the second time he won the title of “Sportsman of the Year” after 2016. Interestingly, only new Olmypic gold medalists could reach the podium in this “contest.”
In the women’s category, canoeist Tamara Csipes was named Sportswoman of the Year preceding her colleague Danuta Kozák, and cyclist Kata Blanka Vas. Csipes (the daughter of four-time Olympic medalist Ferenc Csipes) won a gold medal as a member of the kayak four, and a silver in the 500m individual event in the Japanese capital. According to the 32-year-old athlete, who won the title for the second time (after 2012):
“I won this prize for the first time ten years ago; since then, much water has passed in the Danube, I have also changed a lot. This award is an honor for me; however, I don’t like distinctions between gold medal and gold medal, or between achievement and achievement. I’m not saying that I don’t welcome the award because the sports journalists voted for me. In a way, it’s also a popularity contest.”
The women’s national water polo team was elected Team of the Year in team competitions, winning the bronze medal in Tokyo and defeating the U.S., an undefeated side for thirteen years.
While in individual competitions, the award went to the women’s kayak four, consisting of Tamara Csipes, Danuta Kozák, Dóra Bodonyi, and Anna Kárász, who won the third gold medal in a row in the event in Tokyo.
The women’s kayak four
The Coach of the Year title went to Áron Szilágyi’s coach András Decsi, while the Sports Moment of the Year went to Attila Fiola’s goal against France at the European Football Championship, which won with more than 10,000 fan votes.
Bianka Pap was named the Disabled Athlete of the Year, which did not come as a surprise since she emerged Paralympic champion and two-time silver medalist, four-time European champion, and two-time European silver medalist last year.
“Congratulations to my friends who are present here who also won medals at the Tokyo Paralympics: Luca Ekler, Zsófia Konkoly, Fanni Illés, and Amarilla Veres! They are a huge motivation for me. Many thanks to my coach Álmos Szabó, who has stood by me for nine years, and to the Vasas Sports Club! I thank my parents for letting me go to Budapest alone at the age of 12. I thank the federation for putting their trust in me from the beginning,” Pap said after receiving the award.
The 2021 Paralympic Athlete of the Year for disabled athletes is Paralympic, World, and European champion, Péter Pál Kiss, who traveled to Tokyo with the unconcealed goal to win the first Paralympic gold medal for Hungarian kayak canoeing and beat everyone in the 200-meter sprint with a sensational performance.
featured image: Csipes and Szilágyi; images via Tibor Illyés/MTI