Romanian Govt. offers EUR 200,000 reward to swimming star David Popovici
Romania's government offered a reward of EUR 200,000 to swimming star David Popovici, who made history after achieving a double win at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. Sports minister Eduard Novak handed him the money prize and a trophy on Sunday evening, June 26, during the welcoming ceremony held at the Henri Coanda Airport in Bucharest.
David Popovici returned home on Sunday, accompanied by coach Adrian Radulescu and teammate Robert Glinta. An official welcoming ceremony was held at the Henri Coanda Airport in their honour, attended by sports minister Eduard Novak, Camelia Potec - the president of the Romanian Swimming Federation, and Mihai Covaliu - president of the Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee.
"I must admit that I'm not used to so many people and so much attention. I thank those who believed in me and supported me, and I thank the Romanians who watched me on TV and at the competition. I am honoured to represent this beautiful country and to have your support," Popovici said at the press conference, Digi24 reported.
He also said that he dreams of becoming the fastest swimmer in history, and hopes his performance is an inspiration for other people.
"I am honoured to be called the idol of children because I, too, had my idols," he said.
In his turn, sports minister Eduard Novak said David Popovici, through his fantastic performance, "showed us that sport unites people."
"Sport is the best ambassador, it makes us proud to be Romanian. It's been years since I last lived such moments, and I want to thank David Popovici, who for a few days managed to motivate us, to open the hearts of all Romanians. He showed the world how powerful we could be," Novak said, according to News.ro.
"David, through his work, through his discipline, showed what a professional athlete should be like. He is a role model. He will motivate the whole country, and we are obliged to build swimming pools to help this sport," he added.
The minister of sports also offered the double world champion a trophy and a check for EUR 200,000.
17-year-old swimmer David Popovici achieved a unique performance in Romanian swimming last week, as he won two gold medals at the 2022 World Championships in Budapest. He won the 200-meter freestyle final on June 20 and then the men's 100-meter freestyle final two days later.
Following these amazing results, the Romanian Presidency announced that president Klaus Iohannis would award David Popovici with the "Star of Romania" order, the oldest and highest distinction offered by the Romanian state. Moreover, the president will also decorate Popovici's coach, Adrian Radulescu.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos/George Calin)