The triathlete João Pereira was in good form last year, becoming European Champion in the Olympic distance in Kitzbühel (Austria), and in the sprint, in Düsseldorf (Germany). He also took part in the Benfica team that became European mixed relay race, in Banyoles (Spain).
It is no surprise that João Pereira was distinguished with the best European triathlete of 2017, a prize he received on March 10th, in Russia.
An honor the left the 30-year-old athlete proud. “To receive this award is the recognition for 10 years in the sport, working hard. It is a unique feeling of gratitude to be able to devote myself 100% to the sport I love, in which my Club is an important part. Benfica believes in my potential and gives me everything I need to attain the best of me”, said João Pereira in statements to the O Benfica newspaper.
This moment is the fulfillment of an old wish from João Pereira. “It is a very high point in my career". Having become European Champion in mixed relay race, in the sprint and Olympic distances, propelled this distinction. It always has been a dream as an athlete. The fact the most important body of the European triathlon has named me the Athlete of the Year is something unique”, he said.
At moment of thanking the prize, Sport Lisboa e Benfica was not forgotten: “It is difficult to dedicate this award to someone in particular, it was a huge teamwork. My family is always relentless in this process. To the Benfica family I leave a word of praise. It is always available to help me and to give support in everything I need."
Finally, João Pereira does not hide that be considered the best European triathlete of 2017 boost the motivation for the current season. “This prize brings a great ambition for the season ahead and for all future competitions. I will always try to do more and better. I train every day focused on trying to overcome my limits”, he concluded.
Text: João Pedro Verças
Pics: SL Benfica