Türkiye swimmer Kuzey Tunçelli wins prestigious EOC Piotr Nurowski Prize

Image: European Olympic Committee (EOC)

European Junior champion Kuzey Tunçelli of Türkiye was named as the joint winner of the 2023 Piotr Nurowski Prize, together with German gymnast Darja Varfolomeev, during a ceremony in the swimmer’s homeland.

The award, which is also known as the Best Young European Athlete Prize (PNP), was launched in 2011 in honour of the former Polish Olympic Committee President – Piotr Nurowski.

It has never before been shared, but the two talented athletes received the same number of votes and shall now each receive €15,000 to aid their development.

Tunçelli won the 1500m freestyle event at both the LEN European Junior Swimming Championships in Belgrade and the European Youth Olympic Festival in Maribor, while he also secured an Olympic qualification time for Paris 2024.

“My top priority is to win the first Olympic medal in swimming for Türkiye and make my country proud,” said Tunçelli, who in April became the youngest-ever swimmer to finish the 1500m in under 15 minutes.

“This is my biggest aspiration.”

Varfolomeev became Germany’s first rhythmic gymnastics World Champion in the All-Around competition for 48-years and claimed gold in each of the five individual disciplines.

Slovenian judoka Patricia Thomankova finished third, with Ukrainian European Games champion diver Kirill Boliukh fourth and Belgium’s European Games champion Sarah Chaari fifth.