Headline-hitting for a week now, in the world of Romanian sports news and sports punditry, has been the name of Romanian swimmer David Popovici. The Romanian walked away with two world titles he won in the 100m and 200m freestyle events as part of the recently-held World Championships in Budapest. David's two exceptional feats are an absolute first for Romanian sports, arguably recommending David Popovici for the Athlete of the Year title in 2022. However, we're still six months to go before the yearend and, in the meantime, many things can happen in the world of sports by the end of December. So it's too early for festivities...As for Radio Romania international, the best it can do was to designate David Popovici the Athlete of the Week
On Sunday, David and his colleague, Robert Glință, the world's 5th best swimmer in the 50m backstroke event received a hero's welcome at the Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest. Government and sports officials sought to pay their respects for the two swimmers' performance in Budapest, at once emphasizing the fresh prospects that lay ahead for Romanian swimming. President Klaus Iohannis was keen on handing David the decoration himself, which is the Romanian state's highest distinction The Star of Romania National order in the Rank of Knight. David's coach, Adrian Radulescu, was also decorated. He was awarded the For Merit National Order in the Rank of Knight.
David Popovici was born in Bucharest on September 15, 2004. David distinguished himself in the juniors' competition held in 2021. We recall that at the European Championships held in Rome, David won the 200m, 100m and 50m freestyle events, setting a new juniors' world record for the last event. Later, the Romanian broke all world juniors' records in the 100m and 200m freestyle events. David Popovici succeeded to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, when he came in 4th in the 200m freestyle event. .Back then David was two hundredths of a second away from stepping onto a step of the podium. In the seniors' competitions, David won his first major title in November 2021. We recall that in Kazan, Russia, David Popovici walked away with the 200m freestyle European title. Following the exceptional feat in Budapest, David will yet again have to prove his mettle in next week's European Championships held in Otopeni. The European Seniors' Championships will be held in Rome over August 11 and 17. In early December, the Juniors' World Championships will be held in Peru's capital city, Lima.