Spanish sport stars nominate Perales for accolade

Rafael Nadal, Vincente del Bosque and Xavi Hernandez amongst 11 sportspeople to show their support for swimmer Teresa Perales to receive the 2016 Princess of Asturias Award. 12 Mar 2016
Teresa Perales with her gold medal after success at Glasgow 2015.

Teresa Perales with her gold medal after success at Glasgow 2015.

Ⓒ© Luc Percival Photography. All rights reserved.
By Spanish Paralympic Committee

Spanish sports stars Vicente del Bosque, Iker Casillas, Manel Estiarte, Pau and Marc Gasol, "Pepu" Hernandez, Xavi Hernandez, Miguel Indurain, Rafael Nadal, Jose Maria Olazabal and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario have jointly put multiple Paralympic champion Teresa Perales forward for the 2016 Princess of Asturias Award for Sports.

A total of 11 of Spain’s top athletes, who have themselves been awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports in recent years, have proposed that Perales should receive the award in recognition of her 22 Paralympic medals.

The national football team coach, del Bosque - Prince of Asturias Award 2010 - announced last January that he intended to put Perales forward for the award.

Since then he has successfully petitioned other former winners to do the same.

Footballers Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernandez, basketball players Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol, tennis player Rafael Nadal and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, cyclist Miguel Indurain, water polo player Manel Estiarte, former coach of the Spanish basketball team "Pepu" Hernandez and golfer Jose Maria Olazabal have joined del Bosque in his campaign.

The President of the Spanish Paralympic Committee, Miguel Carballeda, said that "such leading figures from Spanish sport as the eleven that have signed the joint bid, have shown their solidarity with the best representative of Paralympic sport, and recognise her [Perales] success and its significance as a symbol and reference for people with disabilities, women and society in general."

Carballeda thanked them for the "gesture of solidarity", especially del Bosque.

In their nomination, the sports stars say that the "unique sporting success" of Perales, with her 22 medals from four editions of the Paralympic Games, is a "symbol for millions of people with disabilities worldwide" and "an icon for all women."

According to the signatories, the award would also be an important recognition of the efforts and hard training of para-athletes.