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Spectacular 6th edition of the GaituzSport Awards for inclusion in sport at the Euskalduna Palace, Bilbao


  • Kepa Junkera, Agrupación deportiva FEKOOR, Padel Bizkaia Zamudio Torrelagoitikluba, Fundación ONCE, Amagoia Arrieta, Jaiki Surf Eskola and Juan Carlos Unzúe received awards in this year’s edition.
  • GaituzSport Awards acknowledge the exemplary work of people and bodies through physical activity and sports to achieve a more equal, fairer, healthier, and more inclusive society.
  • 250 Basque society VIPs attended, including: Bakartxo Tejeria, Basque Parliament Chairperson; Beatriz Artolazabal, Minister for Equality, Justice & Social Policies; Bingen Zupiria, Basque Government Spokesperson and Minister for Culture & Linguistic Policies; Amaia del Campo, Barakaldo Mayoress and Mikel Torres, Portugalete Mayor. 


Euskalduna Palace in Bilbao, was the setting for the annual event for inclusion in sport. A spectacular 6th edition of “The Inclusive Night – Gau Inklusiboa” with great institutional, social and media support for the presentation of the GaituzSport Awards.

This event organised by the Fundación GaituzSport Fundazioa and Basque Adapted Sports Federation and sponsored by the Basque Government, Bilbao City Council, Bizkaia Provincial Council and Laboral Kutxa was held on 6th October.

Actors Óscar Terol and Amaia Arkotxa as presenters showed their great professionalism and awareness in an entertaining dynamic gala with many moving moments acknowledging and making visible the exemplary work people and bodies carry out through Physical Activity and Sports to achieve a more equal, fairer, healthier, and more inclusive society.

The event started with an impressive inclusive dance performed by the international actors and dancers Xabier Madina (disABLED) and Ebi Soria, who amazed us with their personal version of a tango, which is part of their project “X”.

After this, the presenters announced the presentation of the GaituzSport Awards, and this year’s awardees are:


Agrupación deportiva FEKOOR and Padel Bizkaia Zamudio Torrelagoitikluba, for introducing inclusion in paddle tennis fostering and making this sport visible for everyone.

Beatriz Artolazabal,  the Minister for Equality, Justice & Social Services handed out the award which was collected by  Javier Aguirre Mancebón, Chairman of Pádel Bizkaia Zamudio and Julia Diaz de Otazu Moreno.

 Zuberoa Liendo, Fekoor Chairwoman accompanied by wheelchair paddle tennis player Tony Guillen, expressed her gratitude for the award.


Jaiki Surf Eskola and Gertu Surfa Denontzat, for the Inclusive Surf Project they carry out in Bizkaia.

The award was handed out by Joserra Taranco, Laboral Kutxa Sponsor & Social Work Director.

A much moved Lurta Nikolas received the award with his team and the disABLED participants of the inclusive surf programme.


Amagoia Arrieta, for her sporting achievements in the Boccia.

Bingen Zupiria, the Basque Government Spokesman and Minister for Culture & Linguistic Policies handed the awarded to the sportswoman Amagoia Arrieta.


Fundación ONCE, for their social commitment to promoting inclusion through Physical Activity and Sport for the disABLED.

Bakartxo Tejeria the Basque Parliament Chairperson handed the award to Juan Carlos Andueza, the Basque Country ONCE Territorial Delegate.


Kepa Junkera for his enormous contribution to culture, making diversity visible using music as a tool for inclusion and union.

Sunne Junkera received the Award and expressed her gratitude for the same on her father’s behalf. She received the award at the hands of Itxaso Erroteta, the Bilbao City Council Youth & Sports Councillor.

6.- THE SPECIAL GaituzSport AWARD went to Juan Carlos Unzué, for his sports career, social commitment and visibility of people with MND, using sport as an inclusive solidarity tool.


There were highly moving moments during the 6th edition of the GaituzSport Awards, including the ovations for Sunne Junkera, on collecting the Award given to her father, artist Kepa Junkera on his behalf and expressing her gratitude for the same; likewise for Juan Carlos Unzué, who was unable to be present in Bilbao due to his illness, although he sent a warm inspirational message read out by the presenters, in which he highlighted that: “now my goal is to make MND visible, and is the reason for my gratitude on receiving this GaituzSport Award. Furthermore, he wanted this evening in Bilbao to be dedicated to the memory of the battle being fought by everyone living with  Motor Neuron Disease.”

Our dear Porfirio Hernández Zubizarreta in his speech after highlighting the value of sport as an inclusion tool, announced he was “moving to the reserves”, so although he will no longer be the Chairman he will continue to contribute to GaituzSport with his experience and knowledge. This speech of course was another great moment with a standing ovation from the public as the Basque Parliament Chairwoman handed him a bouquet of flowers. (So thanks for everything, Porfi).


Over 250 people attended the great inclusion night at Euskalduna Palace with notable institutional presence attendance and support. Attendees included: Bakartxo Tejeria, Basque Parliament Chairperson; Bingen Zupiria, Basque Government Spokesperson and Minister  for Culture & Linguistic Policies; Beatriz Artolazabal Minister for Equality, Justice & Social Policies; Lide Amilibia, Deputy Minister for Social Policies;  Barakaldo and Portugalete Mayors: Amaia del Campo, and Mikel Torres; Bilbao City Councillors for Youth & Sport, Sustainability & Movement respectively:   Itxaso Erroteta and Álvaro Pérez; Barakaldo City Council Social Action and Sports Councillors: Mikel Antizar and Iñigo Asensio: Santurtzi, Itziar Carrocera and Daniel Bringas; Portugalete Equality & Social Services Councillor Mª José Blanco; Basque Government Sports Director Gorka Iturriaga; Bilbao Kirolak Director Marcos Muro, in addition to Basque Parliament members.

From the social sphere, people like: Dr Mar Mendibe, ISS Biocruces Bizkaia scientific director and María Isabel Ariceta, Deusto University Education & Sports Faculty Dean; Fernando Asenjo, Deusto University Sports Campus Director;  Juan Carlos Andueza, Basque Country ONCE Foundation Territorial Delegate; José Ramón Taranco, Laboral Kutxa Social Action & Sponsor Chief; artist José Antonio Nielfa, La Otxoa; Esmeralda Herlo, etc., not to mention a wide representation of sports people including the Paralympians: Iker Sastre, Ander Romarete and Jorge Pineda.

This great edition, which was also available via streaming, came to a close with the traditional family photo and entertaining cocktail. “The Inclusive Night – GaituzSport Awards” is held once a year in a Basque capital, and will be held in Donostia – San Sebastian in 2023.

(Photos: E. Moreno Esquibel)

Watch the entire 6th Edition of The Inclusive Night – GaituzSport Awards again in the next video





GaituzSport was born in 2014 as a Social Innovation Project of the Basque Adapted Sports Federation, to respond to the reflections that emerged from the Euskadi Adapted Sports Plan 2015-2020.