Photo of the week: Good sports


Young sporting stars Nina Derwael and Remco Evenepoel have taken the top honours at Belgium’s annual Sportgala awards ceremony

‘So much talent’

For the second year running, the title of Belgium’s Sportswoman of the Year has gone to Nina Derwael, the gymnast from Sint-Truiden who holds the gold medal on the uneven bars at both the European and World Championships. She received her award at the annual Sportgala award ceremony this week

“I had absolutely not expected the award this year,” she said. “There are so many talented competitors. Personally I thought that Emma [Meesseman] would win. It’s a little like comparing apples and pears, but of course I’m delighted with my victory. It’s also another recognition for gymnastics. Previously, there hasn’t been much attention for the sport in Belgium, but in recent years that’s changed for the better.”

Remco Evenepoel, meanwhile, is the youngest man ever to be crowned Sportsman of the Year. The 19-year-old from Aalst comfortably beat fellow cyclists Victor Campenaerts and Wout van Aert to the title. Evenepoel, who was last year named Most Promising Talent, was handed the trophy by 2008 winner Sven Nys.

“This is unbelievable,” Evenepoel said on receiving the award. “I have no words to describe this, which doesn’t happen to me often! A prize like this just motivates me even more for the future.”

This year’s other winners include wheelchair tennis player Joachim Gerard, the national hockey team and their coach, Shane McLeod, and young Anderlecht footballer Yari Verschaeren.

The awards were established in 1967 and are chosen by a jury of sports journalists and former winners. There are six categories: male, female, team, promising talent, Paralympic and coach. Swimmer Carine Verbouwen remains the youngest person to win either the male or female award, winning the first of her three titles at the age of 13 in 1975. Judoka Ingrid Berghmans and tennis player Kim Clijsters have won the title eight times each, with cyclist Eddy Merckx winning six times.

Photo: Remco Evenepoel and Nina Derwael with their awards
© Belga/Laurie Diefembacq