MOSCOW, December 5. /TASS/. 2018 Olympic champions, ice hockey player Pavel Datsyuk and figure skater Alina Zagitova, as well as the national football team’s head coach Stanislav Cherchesov received the National Sports Award at a ceremony held in Moscow on Tuesday evening.

“I’m glad with all my heart to get this award, which is an honor for every athlete. Huge thanks to fans, team partners, members of the expert council and all those who help to develop sports in our country,” Datsyuk said in a video address.

Alina Zagitova, an Olympic champion who currently holds world records for points earned in women’s short program, free skating and the combination of both, was named this year’s best female athlete, beating world fencing champion Inna Deriglazova and artistic gymnast Angelina Melnikova.

The prize in the “best coach” category went to Stanislav Cherchesov, who led the Russian national team to the historic quarterfinal of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Russia, where it lost to a future finalist, Croatia, in a penalty shoot-out.

“I was very emotional about my victory in the nomination. I would like to once again thank the fans, who made it all possible. The team and the coaches did everything they could and even more to achieve the necessary result, the team did their best to provide their fans with an opportunity to enjoy the game,” Cherchesov said.

He said he would estimate the national football team’s performance this year at four on a five-point scale.

“From the emotional point of view, it should have been five, but as far as sport is concerned – it is still four, because we failed to achieve what we wanted,” the head coach said. “The players know that it is too early to relax. We’ve made a small step forward to attract public attention and win the positive attitude of the people, fans and journalists. Our successes must continue.”

Commenting on the overall performance of Russian athletes this year, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets described it as “brilliant.”

“It was a brilliant year for the national sports, we had lots of bright and memorable victories. Russian athletes won 309 podiums in major international competitions,” she said. “I would like to congratulate everyone present here on this wonderful year and wish success to all of you. The country believes in Russian sports.”

Russian Sports Ministry awards its National Sports Award on an annual basis to encourage professional achievements of athletes, coaches and other specialists related to physical culture and sports.

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