Verstappen, Hassan named Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year

F1 driver Max Verstappen and long-distance runner Sifan Hassan were named Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year respectively, both for the second time.

Verstappen became F1 World Champion this season and won the award for a second time, his first time being back in 2016. He won the title on the last lap of the last race of the season, fending off seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The Dutchman was absent from the award ceremony as he is on vacation. He won over two Olympic champions in track cyclist Harry Lavreysen and BMX rider Niek Kimmann. 

His father Jos Verstappen accepted the Jaap Eden award on his behalf, and delivered an acceptance speech.

It was a tough year, emotionally too,” he said at the Lichtfabriek in Haarlem, as quoted by NL Times

“After winning the world title, many emotions were released. The past few weeks were exhausting. He still had a lot to do after the last race.

“Max is happy that he is now on holiday because he didn’t feel like doing anything for a while. It’s good for him to get away for a while.”

Max Verstappen crowned first Dutch Formula 1 world champion
Verstappen (pictured) won the F1 World Championship. Source: Formula 1

Double Dutch delight

There was another Dutch winner in Sifan Hassan, who won the Sportswoman of the Year award, also for the second time.

Hassan beat cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten and short track speedster Suzanne Schulting. The past summer saw the 28-year-old win the gold medal in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters and a bronze in the 1,500 meters at the Tokyo Olympics. 

The athlete came to the Netherlands to collect her award, but tested positive for COVID-19 on the day of the function. As a result, she delivered her acceptance speech via a video link.

“It was a very special year for me and I am very happy with this award. Thank you to everyone who voted for me,” she said.

“I still ran a good time this morning. I feel fine and just wanted to be there with you.”

Read more: Horner set to get new contract boost after helping Verstappen to maiden world championship

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