Lotte Kopecky and Remco Evenepoel win top prizes at 2023 Sport Gala
Lotte Kopecky was named Sportswoman of the Year for the first time in her career, while Remco Evenepoel was named Sportsman of the Year for the third time at the Sports Gala in the Skyhall of Brussels Airport on Sunday evening. Kopecky is the first female cyclist to receive this honour.
For Kopecky, 28, the trophy is the culmination of an exceptional season. She achieved 14 victories on the road, with the World Championships in Glasgow a major highlight, followed by wins in the Tour of Flanders, Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Nokere Koerse and the Simac Ladies Tour, the Belgian road and time trial double and a stage and green in the Tour, with a second place in the final standings. She also scored on the track with world titles in the elimination and points race and won bronze in the omnium.
Kopecky won with 961 points, ahead of basketball player Emma Meesseman, who was second with 651 points, and figure skater Loena Hendrickx, who was third with 348 points.
Meesseman, who took the 2020 title, won the European title this year with the Belgian Cats national team.
Evenepoel, 23, had a victory-filled season, including a second successive win in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a third victory in the Clasica San Sebastian, the world time trial title, the Belgian title on the road, two stages in the Giro and three stages in the Vuelta, plus the mountain jersey.
He received 714 points, ahead of snooker player Luca Brecel on 424 points and speed skater Bart Swings with 343 points.
Brecel was the first Belgian, and the first player from mainland Europe, to become world snooker champion when he took the title in the UK in May.
Evenepoel was the reigning title holder. He won the award for the first time in 2019. With three wins, he shares equal standing with cyclists Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert and swimmer Frederik Deburghgraeve. Motocross rider Stefan Everts has taken the prize five times and cyclist Eddy Merckx six.
© BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ