Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen and athlete Sifan Hassan were proclaimed Sportsman and Sportswoman of 2020/2021 during the NOC-NSF Sportgala on Wednesday evening. The track team sprinters, their coach Hugo Haak and hand biker and triathlete Jetze Plat also received prizes. Verstappen received the prize for winning the very first Dutch world title. After his win in 2016, it is the second time for the 24-year-old racing driver that he has been awarded the title of Sportsman of the Year. Other nominees were BMX rider Niek Kimmann and track cyclist Harrie Lavreysen.
Hassan won three medals in the space of a few days at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. She took gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters and bronze in the 1,500 meters. It is also her second title for the athlete: in 2019 she was crowned Sportswoman of the Year for the first time. Her competitors for the prize were short track racer Suzanne Schulting and cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten.
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The Dutch track cyclists won the title Sports Team of the Year. The team, consisting of Roy van den Berg, Jeffrey Hoogland, Harrie Lavreysen and Matthijs Büchli, won the Olympic title in the team sprint this summer. They trumped the women’s hockey and the men’s doubles on Wednesday evening, who also won gold at the past Games.
Hugo Haak, coach of the successful track cycling team that won five golds at the Games, was crowned Coach of the Year, just like in 2019. Hand biker and triathlete Jetze Plat can call himself Paralympic Athlete of the Year for the third time.
2020 edition canceled
Last year, the annual election of the NOC-NSF was canceled because many international sports tournaments were postponed or canceled due to the corona pandemic. Striking sports performances from 2020 therefore counted for this year’s election.
For the Sports Gala, a jury nominates a few athletes, teams and coaches who have performed a special performance in advance. Professional athletes and coaches cast their votes for those contenders, whereby athletes may only vote for athletes and coaches only for coaches.
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