“The Paralympic Night” acknowledged the work of the Basque Paralympic sportspeople offering them important great institutional and social support.
The stars of “The Paralympic Night” organised by the Basque Adapted Sports Federation under the GaituzSport Project were the “Euskal Paralinpikoak” sportspeople for their effort, professionalism and improvement.
On the evening of 26th May 2016 at Tabakalera, Donostia, they received great institutional and social recognition at the event presented by Óscar Terol and Reyes Prados, to express our admiration for them as well.
The first award went to Alex Prior, sub-23 world champion of wheelchair fencing in Warsaw in 2014 and continues in the top 10 in the Paris world championships in 2015 and this year in the European championships. He received the award at the hands of Carlos Ruiz, Managing Director of Kutxa Fundación Bancaria.
Donostia Mayor, Eneko Goia, presented the next awards to Igor Otaegui, who combines his work as a trainer with that of referee in the fencing category and is an international in the latter category. Fernando Mitxelena, undisputed state champion of the historic Adapted Sports Club, KEMEN, was the next sportsman awardee.
The Donostia Mayor than presented the next award to the wheelchair basketball player, Txema Avendaño, who has been playing since he was 11 and is currently a member of the Bilbao Bidaideak club where there have just been proclaimed third in the Final Four of the League.
The next awardee is one of the best wheelchair referees worldwide, the Gasteiztarra Juan Manuel Uruñuela, who has refereed 5 Olympic Games including the last 3 finals and was also present in the Rio de Janeiro Games.
The next awardee was veteran cyclist Amador Granados, World champion in Olympic Speed in 2014 and third in 2016 world championships.
And from cycling we moved on to Table Tennis with an award for one of the best specialists worldwide, Iker Sastre, undisputed state champion who in 20155 obtained the Bronze medal at the European Championships in Denmark.
The next sportsman to receive an award was Aitor Puertas, who for years has spent most of his time training and competing among ice on the snowboard slopes. He took part in the Socchi Paralympic Games. Aitor expressed his thanks for the award and celebration of this event, which gives the greater visibility they need.
And from the ice slopes to athletic tracks, to award the Bizkaian Asier Aguirre, state Cross-Country champion, and of 5,000m in the last state championships. World sub-champion in half marathon and 4th in this year’s world championships for 3,000m.
And, also from Bizkaia Iñaki Mentxaka, a Boccia player for the last 8 years with Fekoor and has also taken part with the state selection in different international competition. In his recognition they highlighted that Iñaki “is an exceptional game tactician”.
The next sportsman to collect his award was Asier García, virtually a Basque wheelchair basketball legend. A player with Bidaideak in this year 2016 replete with successes like his friend and team mate David Mouriz they share success and friendship in Bidaideak and the selection.
Among so many awards for sportsmen, the sportswomen were missed. On the day of the event they were competing so Ainara Badiola, Aralar Pérez, Carmen Rubio and Rakel Mateo were unable to attend. The Bizkaian triathlete, Rakel, sent a video thanking the Federation for organising “The Paralympic Night”, a necessary event “because we need more support”, and the highlighted presence of President Urkullu. She also declared that “sport is an integration channel, and without wishing to be an example, we can help others overcome their obstacles”. Txema Alonso, manager of Bidaideak received the award on behalf of Rakel.
Thanks to our sportspeople for their work and example in values proving that sport is self-improvement and a great social integration channel.