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Rafael Nadal wins top honor at Sport Values Awards

Rafael Nadal at the ATP Finals in London
Rafael Nadal at the ATP Finals in London
Modified 06 Jan 2021, 18:19 IST

Rafael Nadal has been bestowed with yet another honor - this time at the Sport Values Awards gala organized by the newspaper Sport and Prensa Iberica.

Nadal, who claimed a record-extending 13th French Open title in September, won the award in the Male Athlete Values category. Badminton champion Carolina Marin, meanwhile, won the Female Athlete Values award.

The jury for the awards was headed by Albert Saez (the director of the SPORT newspaper), Alejandro Blanco (the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee) and Javier Tebas (the president of LaLiga).

At the ceremony, Albert Saez spoke about how the awards honor the athletes who contribute both on and off the field - something that was especially valuable in a COVID-ravaged 2020.

"This year these awards make more sense than ever. The SPORT newspaper is one of the leaders in Spain for sports information and throughout the year we devote a lot of energy to explaining the triumphs and defeats of Spanish and international athletes," Albert Saez said. "But these awards were created to recognize athletes who show values that go beyond their victories on the fields and that deserve to be applauded by all of us who love sport."

Some of the other honors handed out on the night included:

  • The International Values Award, to Argentine soccer superstar Leonardo Messi. 
  • The Solidarity Values Award, to the Gasol Foundation (of brothers Pau and Marc Gasol). 
  • The Legend Values Award, to Spanish professional football manager and former player Xavi Hernández.
  • The Coach Values Award, to Spanish professional basketball coach and former player Aíto García Reneses.
  • The Values Award for Sporting Gesture, to Spanish triathlete Diego Méntrida.
  • The Values Award for the Sports Event to the three great cycling rounds: Vuelta, Giro and Tour.
  • The Values Award for the Sports Club, to Valencia Basket (a professional basketball team based in Valencia, Spain).
  • The Extraordinary Values Award, to Spanish football manager and former player Juan Carlos Unzué for his fight against ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The Male Athlete Values award is the latest in a string of honors received by Rafael Nadal recently

Rafael Nadal at the ATP Cup
Rafael Nadal at the ATP Cup

Rafael Nadal's on-court and off-court achievements have been commemorated by many different organizations and publications in recent months.

In October, Rafael Nadal was awarded the Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Sporting Merit, Spain's highest sporting distinction. A month later, he was bestowed with a similar honor by the Madrid government, and a few days after that he received AS' Sports Solidarity award.

In mid-December, Rafael Nadal was awarded the CEU Angel Herrera Award in the Ethics and Values category for his outstanding professional achievements and the charitable work he undertakes through his foundation. The Rafa Nadal Foundation has centers in Spain and India, and uses sport and education to help children and youth in their development.

Then towards the end of the year Rafael Nadal received two more honors - the DEX Legend award by El Desmarque, and the 2020 Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award by the ATP. The latter marked the third consecutive year that the Spaniard had been voted (by his own peers) as the winner of the coveted award, and the fourth time overall in his career.

Rafael Nadal was also at the forefront of various fund-raising initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most important of those was a campaign with Pau Gasol called #NeustraMajorVictoria (#OurBestVictory) in March 2020.

The initiative, part of the #CruzRojaResponde (Red Cross Responds) project, raised €14 million for those impacted by the pandemic.

Published 06 Jan 2021, 18:19 IST
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