The Athlete Mirela Demireva is “Sportsperson of the Year” 2016

The Athlete Mirela Demireva is “Sportsperson of the Year” 2016

17The Rhythmic Gymnastics scoops not one but two awards: “Team of the Year” and “Coach of the Year”

Ruzhdi Ruzhdev unmatchable among competitors wins the “Athlete with Disabilities” 2016 price

Legendary Bulgarians present the awards at the official ceremony

The annual awards for a sportsperson, team, and athlete with disabilities of 2016, as well as the traditional “Coach of the Year” award by “Trud” newspaper were awarded on the 20th of December, 2016 in the National Palace of Culture, Sofia. The best athletes of Bulgaria for the past year according to the vote of sports journalists were officially announced at the 59th ceremony organized by Nove JSC Holding.

The hosts of the event were the fastest white woman on the planet – Ivet Lalova and the legendary captain of the Bulgarian national volleyball team Vlado Nikolov. For the first time, such a ‘constellation’ of legendary Bulgarian stars in the field of sport, art, culture, music, and medicine presented the statues to the winners.

The first place in the category “Sportsperson of the year” 2016 was won by the Olympic and vice-European high-jumping champion Mirela Demireva with overall points of 1,398 collected during the poll. The honorary statuette was presented by Stefka Kostadinova – the four-time winner of the same title, president of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee (BOC), Olympic champion and world record holder.

“I am so grateful that people put their trust in me and gave me the freedom to choose my own way. I am grateful for the fact that when I needed help, I always received it. I think I am a proof that when a man is given a chance, he can always achieve his dreams. I have achieved a dream, but I believe that the best is yet to come,” said Mirela regarding the award.

What’s more, the legendary athlete and the World recorder in high-jumping Stefka Kostadinova had a few words to say about Mirela Demireva; “I kind of see myself in her. The day will come when someone will break my high jump record. I hope she would be the person who would improve it.”

Elitsa Yankova won the second place with 1 107 points. The prize was given by the already retired sports minister Mr. Krasen Kralev.

The third place was taken by the snowboarder Rado Yankov with 1,029 points. Rado received his award from the Bulgarian Grammy-nominated violinist Vesko Eshkenazi.

Apart from hosting the event, Ivet Lalova was among the top 5 awarded people. The athlete ranked four with 871 points. She was awarded by the prima ballerina Masha Ilieva.

The fifth place was taken by the Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov who scored 513 points.

The rest of the people in the top 10 were the boxing legend Kubrat Pulev with 503 points, Boyan Petrov – the person who climbed three Himalyan 8,000m peaks, the European female boxing champion Stanimira Petrova with 208 points, the basketball player Alexander Vezenkov with 202 points, and the best Bulgarian female tennis player Tsveti Pironkova who got 178 points from the votes. Their statuettes were given by the legendary painter and artist Svetlin Rysev, the head of the Military medical Academy Gen. Prof. Nikolay Petrov, the physicist Theodosi Teodosiev, and the living legend of rock music in Bulgaria – Dancho Karadzhov.

There was, however, one more athlete – the Paralympic champion Ruzhdi Ruzdhi who won the price “Athlete with disabilities” of 2016. His award was presented by the wrestling legend and present-day general secretary of BOC – Belcho Goranov.

The “Team of the Year” for 2016 prize was won by the golden girls of Bulgaria of the National Rhythmic Gymnastics Ensemble. The girls who won the Bronze medals in Rio received their award by Krasen Kralev.

But this was not the only prize that went to Rhythmic gymnastics category. Thanks to “Trud” newspaper and their 33rd questionnaire awarded the long-time coach of the ensemble Ina Ananieva with the first place in “Coach of the Year” category. She received her award from Mr. Petyo Blaskov, editor-in-chief of “Trud” newspaper.

This year’s Eurofootball was once again part of the ceremony as a General Sponsor of “Sportsperson of the Year”. Ivailo Ivanov – the Judo Champion and the sportsman who ranked 7th during the Olympics in Rio – won the price “Eurofootball Sports Talent” for 2016. His award was given by Stoyan Nenov – the first Bulgarian Pulitzer winner for photojournalism. The Bulgarian bookmaker also awarded Denislav Kodjabashev with the price “Eurofootball Sports Talent with Disabilities” for 2016. He ranked fifth in table tennis at the Paralympic Games in Rio.

154 sports journalists from 51 digital and print media took part in this year’s survey of Nove JSC Hoding. Traditionally, all of the voted sports journalists had a chance to win Huawei P9 lite, provided by Mtel – partner of “Sportsperson of the Year”. Mr. David Arabadzhiev, sales manager of the telecom company, drew the name of the lucky person – Irina Ruseva who works at Darik Radio.

The music at the ceremony was entrusted to the super-band The Legends, made up of stars playing and singing in some of the most beloved Bulgarian bands of all time. Names such as Yordan Karadjov from Signal, Konstantin Tsekov from FSB, Mitko Kurnov from D2, Koso Markov and Stanley from Tangra, and Lyubo Kirov performed emblematic Bulgarian songs during the event.

The event was broadcast live on Bulgarian National Television, BNT HD, and Darik Radio. This year, BNT HD also had an exclusive studio programme before and after the ceremony.