Teemu Pukki, a striker in the Finland national football team and in the English Premier League team, Norwich City F.C., wins the Athlete of the Year prize at the Finnish Sports Gala in Helsinki Arena on Thursday evening.
Pukki played a key role in qualifying the national football team, the Eagle Owls, for a major tournament for the first time in the history of Finland. While playing in Norwich, Pukki again played a key role in taking the team from the second-highest football league in England to the Premier League. During this season, Pukki has scored nine goals for Norwich.
“I’d rather play than talk but let’s try, ” Pukki said after receiving the prize on stage. “We have an incredible year behind us with the Finland national football team as well as with Norwich. I could not have dreamt about this a couple of years ago.”
“I am very proud of this award. Because I am involved in a team sport, I am very thankful to my teammates from the national team to Norwich and for all the supporters.”
Pukki said that he is very grateful to his family “who have always supported him.” “And for my own lovely wife, ‘thank you for holding on’,” Pukki said with his voice quivering, and soon loud cheers echoed from the audience. “You are capable of giving me a chance to do my best on the football field every day,” Pukki added.
The Finnish Sports Gala has been arranged since 2008. The jury consists of a selection of different sports committees, associations and writers.