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European RoyalsSpain

Spain’s Royals present National Sports Awards

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.

Spain’s Royal Family at the National Sports Awards (photo Casa Real)

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.

Queen Sofía of Spain with Juan Mata (photo Casa Real)

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.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.