Gallery: Rasmus Mägi and Erika Kirpu named athletes of the year ({{commentsTotal}})

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Photo: Winners of the athlete of the year awards Author: (Martin Dremljuga/ERR)

This year's athletes of the year were announced on an annual Stars of Sport gala on Saturday evening. The four Golden Kristjan awards were divided up between fencers and the Mägi family.

Hurdler Rasmus Mägi took the male athlete of the year title with unanimous support from the public, journalists and athletic associations. The 22-year-old talent was second in the European Athletics Championships in Zurich this summer and sixth in the 400 meters hurdles world ranking for 2014. He was the first Estonian to get an individual championship medal of any color in a track event.

The young athlete also caused something of a stir with his acceptance speech, which, instead of the obligatory thank you notes, included his thoughts on being a professional athlete and some interesting comments on Estonian "systematically unsystematic" sports system.

"A real sportsman cannot strive for personal success or glory; neither are the number of medals nor constant competition the core values of sport. Everybody should win with sport, though not with the price of their health. I believe that it is also possible to realize oneself by giving something back to the community. Today and especially in sports, talent is largely measured only through physical means, but there is no physical culture without a spiritual one," he said.

Mägi's final run in the Euro championships also won the public vote for the sporting moment of the year. His parents and coaches, Anne and Taivo Mägi, took home the coach of the year award, making it the first year the Golden Kristjan for mentoring has been awarded to a pair and to a woman.

Mägi was followed by former winners Gerd Kanter (2007, 2008 and 2011) and Heiki Nabi (2012).

The female athlete of the year award went to fencer Erika Kirpu, who has an individual bronze from 2014 World Championships.

Kirpu was also part of the ladies fencing team that took home the team of the year award for second year in a row.

Another fencer, junior world champion Katrina Lehis was named the junior athlete of the year.

Editor: M. Oll

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