Among those awarded were 23 of the biggest athletes in sport but also two sport journalists: Anton Mazreku (1908-1969) – radio commentator and founder of sport journalism in Albania – and Benisk Dizdari, founder and president of ASPA (Albanian Sport Press Association).
This was the first time that two journalists were included among the most influential athletes of the year, due to their relevant role in the development of sport journalism and their support of sport expansion within the country.
Adelina Mazreku, the daughter of Anton Mazreku, received her father’s medal and thanked all those present for the honour, underlining the great role played by the following generations of Albanese sport journalists. It is interesting to note that in honour of Anton Mazreku, ASPA President Dizdari founded the ‘Anton Mazreku award’ in 1995 – the unique journalism award that annually recognizes one sport journalist in Albania.
For Dizdari, who was also the director of daily ‘Sporti Shqiptar’ founded by Mazreku in 1935, this Merit Medal was associated with the memory of the great success of this paper which still maintains the unique record of circulation in the history of a biweekly in Albania: 75,000 copies. This recognition for Dizdari also coincided with the publication of his 22th book, “The World Cup and Albania” (Kumi, 2015) – another personal ‘record’ regarding books written by journalists in Albania.
The ‘Merit Medal’ ceremony was held in the presence of relevant personalities in sports and culture along with Parliament members and former President of the Republic, Dr. Bamir Topi, an important supporter of sport: it was a memorable evening for all those present.