HAVANA, CUBA.- (acn) Judoka Idalis Ortiz and Greco-Roman wrestler Mijain Lopez were awarded as the best Cuban athletes in 2016 in a gala especially devoted to Commander in Chief Fidel Castro.

Lopez´s designation as best male athlete was mainly due to the gold medal he won at Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, third title he achieves at this level, while Ortiz, silver medalist in that same contest, was elected as the most outstanding athlete among women.

Meanwhile, Sergio Gonzalez (m) and Daimara Lescay (w), specialists in beach and indoor volleyball respectively, got the prizes in team sports.

The top ten list of the year included boxers Robeysi Ramírez, Arlen López and Julio César La Cruz (of Camaguey) and Greco-Roman wrestler Ismael Borrero, all champions in Rio Olympics, in addition to freestyle wrestler Yasmany Lugo, up in Rio; and the bronze medalists in that same competition Erislandy Savón and Yohany Argilagos (boxing) and Denia Caballero (women´s discus throw).

Chess player Lenier Dominguez and gymnast Manrique Larduet completed the, while Osniel Melgarejo (volleyball) was awarded as rookie of the year.

They all received their trophies and diplomas at the hands of Jose Ramon Fernandez, president of the Cuban Olympic Committee, and Cuban sporting glories in a ceremony attended by heads and officers of Cuban Armed Forces.

Boxing and volleyball were elected as best individual and team sports, in that order.

In the category for handicapped athletes, the distinction as most outstanding athlete went to Omara Duran, monarch in the women´s 100, 200 and 400 meters events in Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Dalidaivis Rodríguez (judo) and Lenier Savón (athletics), both champions at Rio Paralympics, won the prizes as best handicapped athletes among women and men, in that order; while other nine athletes in that category were honored by their performance this year.

It was known that Lopez and Durand were named as the most popular athletes of the year.

The closing of the gala was in charge of Raúl Torres, Eduardo Sosa, Luna Manzanares and Anny Garcés, who played the song Cabalgando con Fidel.