Winners already named
Palace of Sports hosts ‘2012’s Triumph of Sports Heroes’ ceremony
By Igor Leshin
The state TV and Radio Company of Belarus joined forces with the President’s Sports Club, the Sports and Tourism Ministry and the National Olympic Committee to choose winners in four categories: ‘Determination to Claim Victory’, ‘Breakthrough of the Year’, ‘Result of the Year’ and ‘Most Striking Sports Moment of the Year’. A further four were chosen by public vote: ‘Coach of the Year’, ‘Sportsman of the Year’, ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ and ‘Team of the Year’. Belarusian athletes who had performed at major international competitions in 2012 were eligible for nomination, with over 1.5 million fans taking part in voting.
‘Breakthrough of the Year’ went to swimming sensation Alexandra Gerasimenya, who claimed two Olympic silver medals in London. Other top nominees were the Belarusian men’s handball team, which appeared in the finals of the World Cup, and the women’s canoe four (Marina Poltoran, Irina Pomelova, Nadezhda Popok and Olga Khudenko) which took the Olympic 500m bronze.
The ‘Determination to Claim Victory’ bronze statuette is traditionally awarded to Paralympic athletes, claimed by Paralympic Games champion Lyudmila Volchek in 2006 and 2008. In 2010, the prize went to skier Dmitry Loban, who disregarded medical advice to enter the Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver and won bronze. This time, swimmer Igor Boky — a five-time champion and 2012 Paralympic Games silver medallist — was recognised for his sporting spirit.
‘Result of the Year’ went to 2012 Olympic gold medallist in small-bore rifle shooting Sergey Martynov — who also set a world record along the way. His top rivals for the title were 2012 world biathlon pursuit champion Darya Domracheva and FC BATE, who claimed a sensational victory over German Bavaria (3:1) in the group stage of the Champions League.
‘Most Striking Sports Moment of the Year’ was awarded to the national gymnastics team (Lyubov Cherkashina, Marina Goncharova, Anastasia Ivankova, Natalia Leshchik, Alexandra Narkevich, Ksenia Sankovich and Alina Tumilovich) for their Olympic performance in London, which saw Cherkashina take bronze and the other girls claim group silver. The top nominations were for the mixed doubles Olympic gold, won by Belarusian duo Victoria Azarenko and Maxim Mirny, and for the Belarusian team goal against Brazil in the group stage of the Olympic Football Tournament in London.
The public vote gave the title of ‘Coach of the Year’ to FC BATE Borisov’s Victor Goncharenko while ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ went to tennis darling Victoria Azarenko — the 2012 Olympic champion in the mixed doubles with Maxim Mirnyi, singles bronze medallist at the London Games, 2012 Australian Open winner and first seed. 2012 ‘Sportsman of the Year’ is London Olympic small-bore shooting champion (prone position from 50m) Sergey Martynov. The ‘Best Team’ is Victoria Azarenko and Maxim Mirny, for the 2012 Olympic mixed doubles tennis victory.
Major sponsors of sports in Belarus were invited to the awards ceremony, presenting special prizes. The next ‘Triumph of Sporting Heroes’ awards will be given after the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.