Germany's Darja Varfolomeev, second left, and Turkey's Kuzey Tunçelli, right, jointly won the EOC Piotr Nurowski Prize ©EOC

The European Olympic Committees' (EOC) Piotr Nurowski Prize has been jointly awarded for the first time, with German rhythmic gymnast Darja Varfolomeev and Turkish swimmer Kuzey Tunçelli revealed as the winners here.

Varfolomeev and Tunçelli polled an equal number of votes, as EOC President Spyros Capralos expressed to his amazement on the stage with the two athletes and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach after the first day of the EOC General Assembly.

The five shortlisted candidates for the Summer edition of the prize were each presented to the General Assembly earlier in the day for National Olympic Committees to vote on.

The winners of the award, named after former Polish Olympic Committee President Piotr Nurowski who died in a plane crash in 2010 and honouring Europe's best athlete aged 18 or under, each receive a €15,000 (£13,000/$15,900) scholarship.

Varfolomeev enjoyed an incredible Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Valencia in August, winning all five available individual gold medals.

A second-place finish in the all-around at the 2022 World Championships in Sofia had earned Germany a quota place for the Paris 2024 Olympics, and Varfolomeev hopes to compete in the French capital.

"My biggest dream is to participate at the Olympic Games," she said.

"Since I was a little child, I looked up to the world’s best athletes who wowed the crowd with amazing performances.

"I like to interact with the audience, and I enjoy it when people like my routines."

In April, Tunçelli who was 15 at the time, became the youngest swimmer ever to beat the 15 minute mark in the men's 1500 metres freestyle, clocking 14min 56.67sec to achieve the Olympic qualification time.

Tunçelli set a European junior record at the European Junior Championships and a Games record at the Maribor 2023 European Youth Olympic Festival on his way to winning golds in the 1500m freestyle.

"My top priority is to win the first Olympic medal in swimming for Türkiye and make my country proud," he said.

"This is my biggest aspiration."

This was the first time the Piotr Nurowski Prize has been shared since its inception in 2011, and the first winner from either Germany or Turkey.

Third place went to Slovakian judoka Patricia Tomankova, fourth to Ukrainian diver Kirill Boliukh and fifth to Belgium's European Games taekwondo gold medallist Sarah Chaâri, who was the only one of the candidates unable to attend in Istanbul because she is competing in the Chinese city of Taiyuan.

The shortlisted athletes each received scholarships too.