ANOC Awards Take Center Stage in the Golden City

(ATR) A full report from the fourth annual ANOC Gala Awards in Prague, Czech Republic.

(ATR) Forum Karlin was the place to be on a glittering night in the Golden City.

More than 1000 Olympic family guests descended upon the chic Prague venue for a festive and fun evening to honor elite athletes across five continents at the fourth edition of the ANOC Awards.

Colorful music and dance added to the atmosphere in the Czech capital.

The ANOC Awards winners for best male and best female athlete from each continent were:

Africa

Best Male: Chad Le Clos (South Africa, swimming)

Best Female: Farida Hisham Osman (Egypt, swimming)

Americas

Best Male: Trinidad and Tobago 4 x 400 team (athletics)

Best Female: Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela, athletics)

Asia

Best Male: Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar, athletics)

Best Female: Song Yu (China, judo)

Europe

Best Male: Marcel Hirscher (Austria, alpine ski)

Best Female: Sarah Sjöström (Sweden, swimming)

Oceania

Best Male: Robbie Manson (New Zealand, rowing)

Best Female: Sarah Goss (New Zealand, rugby)

Individual awards were presented to three figures in the Olympic Movement.

Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci was honored for Outstanding Performance with an award presented by IOC President Thomas Bach and ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad.

Former Jamaican NOC President Michael Fennell was recognized for Contribution to the Olympic Movement. Fennell stepped down this year after leading the NOC for 28 years.

Julio Cesar Maglione, FINA President, Uruguay NOC President and former president of PASO, received the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award. Maglione assumed the position first vice-president of ANOC replacing Pat Hickey.

"This is right up there, I can compare this to maybe the Laureus awards, one of the biggest awards you can win," Le Clos told Around the Rings after accepting one of the first awards of the night. "Being among so many great people is a truly humbling experience and I’ve been wanting to come to Prague for a long time."

For the fourth edition of the awards ANOC honored athletes for performances in the year after the Rio 2016 Olympics. Each continent featured a unique performance before the sets of awards were presented.

Comaneci told ATR receiving the outstanding performance award felt "very different" from her gold medals in the 1976 Games. Comaneci visited Montreal earlier this year and had a plaza in the city named after her for her achievements.

"When you are acknowledged in front of all of your peers, because these are all Olympic champions or former Olympic champions, it’s mostly a celebration of sport," Comaneci said. " it’s emotional because for me, im not competing and haven’t competed for many years and we live in a society where people forgot what happened a year or two years ago, so to celebrate the 40 year anniversary, it’s a long time."

Written by Aaron Bauer, Brian Pinelli, and Kevin Nutley in Prague

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