SWIMMING champ Mireia Belmonte has been voted Spain’s top sportswoman in the past 50 years at an awards ceremony in Madrid.

The sporting bash celebrated Spain’s sporting heroes as AS newspaper celebrated its 50th anniversary where readers voted on athletes who have changed the face of Spanish sport.

The 27-year-old, known as the ‘first woman from Spain ever to claim Olympic gold in swimming’, collected the award with fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal who was voted best male and Sebastian Coe, the architect of the 2012 London Olympics, who won the lifetime achievement award.

The award ceremony was presided over by the King and Queen of Spain.

Speaking at the ceremony she said: “I am very excited to receive this award and the fact that I have been chosen is very special and an honour.

“It is very special that Casa Real supports athletes so much, especially when we go to the Olympic Games, which is the greatest example of sport.”

The four-time Olympic gold medalist said she has ‘fulfilled the dream’ of being world champion and will focus her efforts to ‘beat’ Europe’s 50-metre pool record for butterfly.

“I have fulfilled my dream of being a world champion and now I’m going for the European record,” she added.

Belmonte will be competing at the inaugural multi-sport 2018 European Championships in Glasgow, an 11-day celebration of European sport.

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