Champion Estonian freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru, 15, who was nominated for the European Olympic Committees' (EOC) Best Winter European Young Athlete "Piotr Nurowski" Prize by the Estonian Olympic Committee, has been shortlisted for the award, whose winner will be announced at a gala event in Skopje, Macedonia on Friday night.
According to Martti Raju, head of sports at the Estonian Olympic Committee, this is the first time that a youth athlete from Estonia has been shortlisted for this prestigiou award. "Making it to the finals is a great acknowledgement," he said. "An athlete is evaluated not based just on their athletic achievements but also their attitude and behavior as a role model and carrier of Olympic values."
Trainer and father Tõnis Sildaru said that Kelly making it into the top five best young winter athletes in Europe was a pleasant surprise and an important event. "I am glad that Kelly's achievements and development have been noted on the European Olympic movement level already," he said. "I hope that this recognition will motivate not just Kelly but also other boldly dreaming young Estonian athletes to continue to strive toward the highest goals."
Also shortlisted for the award are Italian alpine skier Alex Vinatzer, Norwegian freestyle skier Birk Ruud, Polish speed skater Kamila Stormowska and Slovenian ski jumper Nika Kriznar.
The winner of the award will be chosen by 50 representatives of European national olympic committees at a forum taking place in Skopje, Macedonia on Friday. The results of the vote will be announced at a gala event to begin at 8 p.m. on Friday night, which will be attended by Sildaru and Tõnis Sildaru. The winner will receive a trophy and a €12,000 training scholarship.
National olympic committees can nominate for the Piotr Nurowski award athletes under 19 years of age who will be evaluated based on both their athletic achievements and their behavior and attitude in valuing honest sports and Olympic culture and values.
The award was established in memory of Polish Olympic Committee president Piotr Nurowski, who was killed in the April 2010 Smolensk plane crash which also took the lives of the President and First Lady of Poland and other high-ranking Polish officials.
The purpose of the award is to encourage young athletes to pursue careers in world-class sports and encourage them to respect the rules of fair play and Olympic values.
The prize for best winter athlete is being awarded for the second time.
Editor: Aili Vahtla