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News17 Nov 2009

Tenth anniversary of Szabo’s Athlete of the Year honour celebrated in Bucharest


Gabriela Szabo at a gala 10th anniversary celebration of her being named the 1999 Athlete of the Year (© organisers)

At a ceremony in Bucharest on Sunday (15), Gabriela Szabo celebrated the tenth anniversary of being named both the 1999 World Athlete of the Year by the International Athletics Foundation and the World Sportswoman of the Year by the World Sport Press Association. The anniversary Gala was held at the Romanian National Opera in Bucharest.

The Gala included a moment of remembrance of the most spectacular races in the career of the athlete, speeches from Szabo’s friends, as well as an exquisite dance performance, a gift that Szabo offered her guests as a sign of appreciation for their love and support. The guests enjoyed an extraordinary performance of The Symphonie Fantastique, by Hector Berlioz, choreographed by Gigi Caciuleanu, with Razvan Mazilu as the prime dancer.

More than 500 guests attended the event, including numerous personalities, admirers and friends of Szabo. Among these were the Romanian sportsmen Ivan Patzaichin, Andreea Raducan, Marius Urzica, Monica Iagar, Diana Oprea, Nicoleta Grasu and Monica Rosu, as well as public personalities such as Andi Moisescu, Gianina Corondan, Andreea Berecleanu and Andrei Zaharescu, Ovidiu Lipan-Tandarica, and Dragos Bucurenci.

“I have received all the honours and distinctions an athlete could wish for during my career, including the title of World Sportswoman of the Year,” Szabo said. “But the feeling I had on the stage, overwhelmed by the applause and by the warmth of those who came to congratulate me, cannot be compared with anything else.”