The Spanish Royal Family has presented the country’s national sports awards at a ceremony in Madrid. Among those celebrated at the event were tennis star Rafael Nadal, footballer Juan Mata and golfer Jon Rahm.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia were joined by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía for the ceremony which took place at the Pardo Palace on the 10th of January 2019. Also present were King Felipe’s sister, Infanta Elena, and his paternal aunt, Infanta Pilar.
Six of the prizes handed out are named after members of the Royal Family with King Felipe starting proceedings by presenting the award bearing his name. It’s handed out every year to the highest achieving male sports star of the year, this time Rafael Nadal. The Queen Letizia prize, for the most distinguished female star, went to martial arts champion Sandra Sanchez.
Queen Letizia also presented the prize named after her younger daughter. She handed over the Infanta Sofía Award which is given for achievement in promoting sport for people with disabilities. It was presented to Fundacion A La Par for its work for those with learning and emotional disabilities. The Princess Leonor Prize, named after the heir to Spain’s throne, is presented to the country’s most outstanding athlete aged 18 or under. This year the winner was heptathlete Maria Vicente with King Felipe handing over the trophy.
The King Juan Carlos Award, presented by the former monarch to the breakout star of the year, went to golfer Jon Rahm. Queen Sofía handed over the trophy bearing her name to Manchester United star, Juan Mata – the prize recognises fair play with the forward winning for setting up ‘Common Goal’ which encourages professional footballers to help others through sport.
Other prizes distributed at the award included recognition for Spain’s female and male ice hockey teams who were awarded the Baron de Guell Cup while the lifetime achievement honour was presented to Juan de Dios Roman, who coached Spain’s handball team to bronze medals at two Olympics and went on to become President of the country’s Handball Association.
The awards recognised achievements in 2017 and were decided by a jury which met in Madrid in September last year.