TOKYO -- The award ceremony for the annual Mainichi sporting figure prizes was held in Tokyo on Dec. 4, attended by this year's prizewinners including Japanese racing driver Takuma Sato, who won the grand prix.
Wheelchair tennis player Momoko Ohtani, 25, who was named rookie of the year, and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles coach Katsunori Nomura, 47, the son of late professional baseball player and manager Katsuya Nomura, who was posthumously awarded a prize for distinguished achievement, also joined the ceremony. They each received a certificate and bronze statuette of Japan's first female Olympic medalist Kinue Hitomi, who was a Mainichi Shimbun reporter, from Masahiro Maruyama, president of The Mainichi Newspapers Co.
In his address, Sato, 43, who won this year's Indianapolis 500 for the second time following his first victory in 2017, said, "I would like to thank those who have supported me."
Track and field athlete Nozomi Tanaka, 21, who shared the rookie of the year award with Ohtani, and swimmer Rikako Ikee, 20, who received the culture award, were absent from the ceremony, but sent their comments via video.
(Japanese original by Masaharu Saito, Sports News Department)