Havana’s Convention Center played host to the awards ceremony for the best athletes of 2015 this Wednesday, December 23
Gymnast Manrique Larduet was presented with the award for best male athlete by Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers.
“It’s an immense honor to be recognized as the best individual athlete this year. It is the injection of energy needed to dedicate myself completely to my routines, raising the complexity, to go out and perform at the 2016 Río de Janeiro Olympics, having worked toward this for the past ten years with my coach Carlos Gil. I still can’t stop smiling every time I think of my two world medals, but I have more dreams to fulfill,” the 18 year old from Santiago stated.
Disabled sprinter Omara Durand, who saw world records and triple wins at the Parapan American Games in Toronto and the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, stated: “This has been the best year of my career. Miriam contributed much to these results, understanding, detailed planning, confidence to begin a new competitive stage alongside my guide Yuniol Kindelán. Family support and medals for my people and my little Erika. I am already thinking of Río next year, I am training very hard.”
This feeling of gratitude and commitment was echoed by rower Ángel Fournier, who was included among the top ten athletes of the island for the third consecutive time. “50% of the battle is won. I train hard thinking of Río de Janeiro, in which I’ll be participating, 2015 was a successful year, the other half will be completed on the Olympic podium.”
I close with Yarisley Silva. Her face is a mixture of smiles and tears of emotion. She expressed her gratitude to her coach Alexander Nava and dedicated all her medals and awards to him.
Also presiding over the ceremony were Olga Lidia Tapia, member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba; José Ramón Fernández, president of the Cuban Olympic Committee; Dr. Antonio Becali, president of INDER, and other leaders of different political and mass organizations.