OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE

Three times Olympic Champion, Greco-Roman wrestler Mijaín López and judoka Idalys Ortiz, Río de Janeiro 2016 silver medalist, were voted Cuba’s top athletes of 2016.

Other noteworthy winners of the annual vote by the island’s National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER) and Association of Sports Journalists, included the Domadores de Cuba boxing squad, champions of the Sixth World Series of Boxing, who were named most outstanding team of the year.

Meanwhile, beach and indoor volleyball players, Sergio González, and Daymara Lescay, respectively, took the prizes for best players in a team sport; while newcomer of the year went to Osniel Lázaro Melgarejo, another volleyball player - currently on loan to Greek club Provtejof - and member of the national squad which won the Under-23 Pan American Cup.

Also featuring on the list of the top 10 athletes of the year were Olympic boxing champions Robeisy Ramírez, Julio César La Cruz and Arlen López, as well as Río 2016 bronze medal winners Johannys Argilagos and Erislandy Savón.

A special mention went to wrestlers Ismael Borrero, Olympic champion in the 59kg division and his teammate Yasmani Lugo, silver medal winner in the 98kg.

The list was completed by discus thrower Denia Caballero, who took the bronze medal in Brazil; as well as Manrique Larduet, who finished in fifth place on the parallel bars and six on the high bar during the most recent edition of the Olympic Games, and chess player Leinier Domínguez, silver medalist in the Baku Chess Olympiad, in Azerbaijan.

Voting officials announced that boxer Lázaro Álvarez, who won the bronze medal in Río, failed to make the cut after being receiving a sanction from the National Boxing Federation over a case of indiscipline.

Boxing was voted best individual sport, while beach volleyball was proclaimed winner of the team sport category.

In regards to disabled athletes, Omara Durand was voted top overall sportsperson. The sprinter from Santiago de Cuba won gold in the T12 (visually impaired) 100, 200 and 400 meters in the Paralympic Games in Brazil, setting records in every race.

Meanwhile, judoka Dalidaivis Rodríguez and sprinter Leinier Savón were voted best female and male athletes of the year, respectively.

Here is what the top 10 lit looks like: Lorenzo Perez (swimming), Ernesto Blanco (athletics), Suslaidys Girat (athletics), Yunidis Castillo (athletics), Yordanis Fernándes (judo), Yangaliny Jiménez (judo), Leonardo Dias (athletics), Maria Luz Pérez (athletics) and Noralvis de las Heras (athletics).
Winners of the youth division included heptathlete Adriana Rodríguez, World Championship silver medalist; and triple jumper Lázaro Martínez, Youth World Champion who finished eighth in the Río de Janeiro Olympic Games.

Cuba’s top ten juvenile athletes of 2016 are as follows: Dainier Peró (boxing), Yosbel Zulueta (baseball), Fernando Dayán Jorge (canoe/kayak), Cristian Nápoles (athletics), Maikel Massó (athletics), Luis Enrique Sayas (athletics), Luis Enriques Patterson (fencing), Elios Crespo (boxing), Osvardy Morrell (boxing) and Jorge A. Griñán (boxing).

The prize for best national referee went to Misleidy Paz (Taekwondo), while Tomás Haces Germán (swimming) won the award for top international umpire.

Andrenxon Coll from Villa Clara was voted the country’s best Physical Education professor, while Amado Hernández Matanzas took the prize for most outstanding activist. Finally, Yohen Lefont was chosen as top athlete in a specialist activity for his ball-control records.

All athletes will receive their prizes on December 20 during the official award ceremony.