Last week, the Latvijas Gada balva sportā 2015 were held in, with the honor of winning the Latvian Paralympic Committee Special Award going to para-athletics competitor Edgars Bergs.
The Latvian’s most recent international achievement involved winning silver at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha in the F35 shot putt, and is on his way to going to the the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. Back in form, he could have a chance of claiming a medal having won silver in the event at the 2004 and 2008 Games. He has had success in other events, having won a bronze in 2004 in the F35 discus throw. His recent success builds on a long career, with Bergs taking up the sport in 2000. In 2008, he was named to the order of President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers.
Bergs was nominated alongside fellow F52 para-athlete Aigars Apinis, who has also had a long and successful Paralympic career. Having competed in every Games since 2000, he has won three golds, one in 2004 in the F52 discus throw, one in 2008 in the same event, and one in London in the shot putt. He has also won a pair of silver and bronze medals. Apinis is also working on his Rio qualifying campaign.
The final nominee was Poļina Rožkova, a two sport competitor who has represented Latvia in wheelchair fencing and wheelchair curling. She has been part of the Latvia wheelchair curling team that tried to qualify for the world championships in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Rožkova has also been active in wheelchair fencing in the past two years, with her efforts to qualify for Rio well underway. She competed at a World Cup event in Hungary.