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Verena Bentele, recipient of the 2017 Champagne de la Joie de Vivre Award

On 10 April, Germany’s 2017 Champagne de la Joie de Vivre Award was presented to blind sports star, Verena Bentele. Now the Federal Government's Disability Commissioner, Verena Bentele is a top-level athlete, talented intellectual and writer. Driven by courage, curiosity and an infectious zest for life that has led her to take on numerous challenges, she has pledged to serve the interests of disabled people. However, Verena Bentele has inspired and motivated many others over and above the realms of sport and politics.

As Hubertus Meyer-Burckhardt, head of the Prix Champagne de la Joie de Vivre panel of judges points out, “Verena Bentele is an exceptional prize-winner”. “Never before has this Prize been awarded to a top athlete or a brilliant politician and today, we honour both in a single person. Political commitment requires incredible stamina. With her dynamism and contagious optimism, Verena Bentele is proof that politics and joie de vivre are not incompatible.”

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