Lopez named best non-Olympic athlete of 2021 in Colombia

Sara Lopez poses with Colombia’s Altius award winners in 2021.

Reigning World Archery Champion Sara Lopez was named Colombia’s best non-Olympic athlete of 2021 at an award ceremony in Bogota last night.

The Colombian Olympic Committee issues Altius awards in gold, silver and bronze for outstanding performances from athletes participating in both Olympic and non-Olympic sports each year.

Sara previously received the bronze in 2019 – but no archer had ever won the overall prize.

“It’s really amazing to receive this award, especially after one of the best years of my career,” said Sara, who thanked teammates Alejandra Usquiano, Nora Valdez and Daniel Munoz on stage in Bogota.

“It’s so cool to see archery being recognised as one of the biggest sports in Colombia. It means a lot to me and makes me proud to see archery recognised alongside other bigger sports,” she continued.

“We have been leaving the shadows over the past few years and now archery is getting more popular.”

Lopez recently broke the record for the longest time spent ranked as world number one having collected the maximum three gold medals at the world championships and a record sixth Hyundai Archery World Cup trophy in 2021.

Athlete Anthony Zambrano, who won silver in the 400 metres at Tokyo 2020, collected the Olympic Altius prize.

Lopez is not the only high-profile archer in Latin America to have recently been recognised during domestic honours season.

Roberto Hernandez was named best archer but also El Salvador’s coach of the year at the Espiga Dorada awards. The reigning Pan American Games Champion was responsible for the youth team that collected two bronze medals at the recent Junior Pan American Games.

“Being a coach is more difficult in competition,” he said about his dual roles when asked by CANCHA.com.

“When I compete, I have everything in my control. I know that if I fail it is my failure and I must cope with it, while being a coach is more difficult to deal with.”

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