▲ Triple jumper Yulimar Rojas is the third Latin American to receive this recognition Photo taken from @OfficialCov
., Xinhua and Pl
La Jornada newspaper
Sunday, December 6, 2020, p. a14
Paris. Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas and Swede Armand Duplantis, world record holder for pole vault (6.18 meters), were chosen athletes of the year by the World Athletics (International Athletics Federation).
Rojas, 25, shone at the beginning of the season, improving the mark of the triple jump orb on the indoor track (15.43, on February 21 in Madrid).
The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, celebrated the recognition of the Olympic runner-up and four times world monarch.
Venezuela is proud of you, and your victories belong to each and everyone. Always count on the support and love of your people. Congratulations Champion, the president wrote on Twitter.
Rojas became the third Latin American competitor to receive the award for best athlete of the year, after Cuban runner Ana Fidela Quirot (1989) and Colombian tripler Catherine Ibargüen (2018).
On his side, Duplantis becomes the youngest winner of this award at age 21. The Swede broke Renaud Lavillenie’s world record (6.16) twice in February, taking it first to 6.17 and then to 6.18, on February 15, in Glasgow, indoors. He also made the best jump ever in the open air (6.15, on September 17 in Rome), dethroning the legendary Sergei Bubka.
Duplantis’ parents, Helena and Greg, received the award for best coach of the year.
In an interview given to World Athletics after the decision was announced, Rojas, visibly moved, said she was very surprised and happy with the historic distinction.
The Venezuelan also declared that for her it was already a great achievement to have obtained the nomination as one of the five finalists and that the award was not expected since she was nominated along with four other great athletes in the world.
Being the best athlete of 2020 is a great motivation for the next, a quite beautiful year in which I have many aspirations and expectations, added Yulimar, who is a great Latin American contender for Olympic gold at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.
The other four finalists were Sifan Hassan, Letesenbet Gidey, Peres Jepchirchir and Elaine Thompson-Herah.
The World Athletics in its annual awards has the direct participation of the World Athletics Council, which represents 50 percent of the votes of the contest.
The other half of the vote is divided equally between the general public and the world athletics family.