The Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura has received his award for valour in sport at London's Guildhall.
The Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura has received his award for valour in sport at London's Guildhall. Uemura was chosen out of the one hundred and fifty nominations, which included seventeen-year-old Teddy Kennedy Junior, son of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy. Uemura, who's scaled Everest, the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc, won this award for a single-handed trip across the frozen Arctic Sea to the North Pole. He was the first man to reach the Pole alone.
SYNOPSIS: Naomi Uemura received the award on Thursday (22 February) at a glittering ceremony attended by many well-known sporting personalities. He is lucky to be alive. At one stage in his five hundred-mile, fifty-four-day journey across the Arctic, his face turned black with extreme frost bite. He endured temperatures of minus seventy two degrees Fahrenheit, lost his food and his dogs, but never his determination.
Last year's winner American athlete Kathy Miller crowned Uemura with the traditional gold laurel wreath. But this year's man of courage proved to be a shy hero.
Uemura went on to say in Japanese that he'd rather fight a polar bear than deliver a speech. In fact this was precisely what he had to do at one stage during his North Pole expedition. Two marauding polar bears attacked his tent at night, clawing and pushing him before they made off with his food. He later had to kill one of them. And for an encore -- he says he'll try the South Pole next.