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The fact that Spain is among the strongest European canoeing nations is no secret, but Spanish Canoeing holds the highest status among the sports also in Spain. Recently Spanish paddlers and their Federation (Real Federacion Espanola de Piraguismo) came into the spotlight at the National Sports Awards for the year 2016 that were awarded by the CSD. The highest awards went into the hands of canoe slalom paddler Maialen Chourraut and canoe sprint paddler Saul Craviotto.

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The Olympic year 2016 was unforgettable for the Spanish Canoe Federation and they still celebrate the success from Rio de Janeiro. National Sports Council (Consejo del Deporte – CSD) awarded Spanish athletes for their achievements in the year 2016 and Spanish Canoe Federation and their athletes took majority of the awards for their achievements.

The award of King Felipe for extraordinary sporting achievements at national and international level was given to Saul Craviotto who became the 2016 Olympic Champion in K2 200 metres event with Cristian Toro and also picked up bronze medal in K1 200 metres event.

The best sportswoman of the year 2016 was Maialen Chourraut, canoe slalom athlete, who received the Queen Letizia award for her 2016 Olympic Gold medal. 34-year old Basque paddler who also had Olympic medal in London is already looking forward to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Despite being Olympic Champion and European Champion Maialen waits for one more gold – she still strives for World Champion title, “Up to Tokyo I have two opportunities to get it, it's a way to motivate me more, I want to continue learning, improving, trying to get as far as I can.”

The third award winner coming from Canoeing was Marcus Cooper Walz who received the award of King Juan Carlos. Young kayaker, who was born in Oxford, Great Britain, in 1994, was the fastest paddler in men’s K1 1000 metres final of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

To conclude an excellent awards ceremony Spanish Canoeing Olympic team received the Baron de Guell Cup which is given to a team or national team whose sporting achievements stood out the most in the year.

Source: European Canoe Association.

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