Princess votes for us

This year the Fair Play International Committee had to work really hard. And to me, as its Vice-President and the member of the Commission, selecting and representing the best, even more so. There were so many examples of true sport nobility among 42 applications from all over the world.

And yet I will start with our, Russian laureates. Victor Gorlov claimed the main trophy in the category of ‘Promotion of Fair Play’. For 25 years, he has been heading the Children’s Football League (DFL) that works on the principles of sports nobility. Little football players, boys and also girls, are mastering the Fair Play principles along with the basics of the great game. They are taught by the adult team of the organizers of the dozens of tournaments, held by the DFL, and the coaches. We, the representatives of the ROC Fair Play Committee, frequent and welcome guests at all the training camps and championships. Together with the President of the DFL, we try to explain to the kids that victory is important, but only if its earned in a fair fight. That is why at the League tournaments, you can often see how the kids ask the referee not to count the goal scored by them from the offside, cancel the goal, because they attacked with rule violation. Over the course of its quarter century of existence I did not see fights on the field, arguments with the referees, begging of penalties. And at the same time, for example, 30 participants of the most popular children’s tournament ‘Lokobol’ play in professional football clubs, and Mikhail Lysov is in the main composition of the season’s leader – Lokomotiv, Moscow.

All this impressed the members of the International Committee. And if not competitors on nobility from Wallonia and Brussels, Gorlov would have become the owner of the main prize. But admittedly, they did a great job. All religious denominations of the country, from Catholics and Orthodox to Muslims and Jews united, having signed the Declaration ‘Sports and Solidarity of Believers’. Ministers of religion during their visits to sports competitions appeal to the laity to fight under  the laws of fair play. The jury’s opinions were divided. Representatives of the countries involved, a famous former long jumper Philippe Bisso and I decided not to participate in the voting, which is always open. We lacked only one vote to get the main trophy. We received a diploma. We can take consolation in the fackt, that a member of IOC Princess Nora of Liechtenstein rouse her hand for Viktor Gorlov.

Another diploma, usually awarded by the honorary President of the IOC and founder of this prize Jacques Rogge, will be presented to our two young girls handball players, students from Rostov Valeria Gukovskaya and Anastasia Shawman. During the General Physical Training class, held on the beach, they heard a cry for help. They jumped into the water and even storm waves did not stop the girls from saving a drowning person, albeit with great difficulty and risk of their own lives. Once again physical training helped to perform a noble deed.

And the main trophy was unanimously given to the Italian Valerio Catoggio. The swimmer, winner of many Paralympic events, suffering from down syndrome, miraculously pulled a spluttering ten-year-old girl from the bottom of the sea. Let me give you the words of the wise Princess Nora:

– I often attend competitions for people exposed to serious diseases. I always notice that they rush to help those in trouble with readiness and without any fear. Maybe that’s the sense of compassion, cultivated in them, or it comes from the heart, after all, they themselves do not always get help, and perhaps instinctively they want, to lend their shoulder to those, suffering as well as they do, and to all of us.

But let the reader not get the impression that the members of our jury were kind and generous in distributing the awards. The main trophy, the prize of the great tennis musketeer and the first Chairman of the Fair Play Jean Borotra ‘For a perfect career’ was to be received by the Italian football player Francesco Totti, who donates huge amount of his million-dollar fees to charity. But the icon of the Roma football club was strongly rejected. The current long-term President of the International Fair Play Committee, famous Hungarian fencer and no less famous in his country cardiac surgeon Jeno Kamuti made inquiries and found out, that Totti’s sports career did not develop smoothly. Yes, all his life he played for Roma, donated money to the afflicted, but sometimes lost his temper, was rude, argued with the referees. And Totti have not received anything, neither a diploma, nor even the third significant award ‘Letter of Gratitude’. And by unanimous decision, we will present the trophy to Jacques Ferrand, 97-year-old French football journalist. Will he be able to get from Paris to Baku, where a solemn ceremony of awarding the winners will be held in days of the World Judo Championships? Let’s hope.

And finally, the trophy for a noble deed will be given to Monsieur Ferrand’s compatriots, rowers of the French team. After failing to reach the finals of a major tournament in doubles, they lent the boat to their competitors from another country fighting for gold.