Lopez finishes top-10 in World Games athlete of 2021 poll

Sara Lopez competing at Yankton 2021

With nearly 20,000 votes, compound legend Sara Lopez finished in the top 10 of the World Games’ athlete of the year public ballot for 2021.

Lopez ultimately came eighth in a field of 24 athletes with 18,443 votes in total, just 31 behind seventh place (18,474) and 419 behind sixth (18,862). India’s field hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh won the title.

It was the fifth time (2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021) the Colombian archer had been nominated for the prestigious global award – which is decided by an online public vote.

Lopez has also won the World Games’ athlete of the month title twice, first in April 2014 and then again in May 2020, when she donated the 1000 CHF prize to charities combating the COVID-19 pandemic in Colombia.

“Getting that amount of votes means the world to me. I never thought that many people will want me to get a spot there, but it feels really good to feel supported by your community,” said Lopez. “This means archery is getting more popular around the world and [also] means that I got the support of all my community by getting this amount of votes.”

“I feel really proud to be the face that is representing archery around the world,” she added. “I always say that I do what I do because I want this sport to grow and I want women in our sport to be more represented and to be important in terms of being the face of our sport.”

Sara Lopez after realising she had won gold at the 2017 World Games in Poland

An athlete of the year is chosen every year by the organisation behind the World Games, the multisport event that takes place every four years and counts a compound target archery competition among its events, as well as field archery for recurve and barebow archers.

Lopez is the reigning compound women’s champion and will look to defend her title at the next edition, scheduled for this July in the USA.

“What I love about the World Games is that I feel like I’m part of something bigger than me,” said Lopez about the event. “People call it the ‘Olympics for non-Olympic sports’ and coming from a country that only cares about Olympic sports it feels great to be part of a community that are proud of who they are even if they are not at the Olympic Games.”

“It’s really cool to see that everyone is so proud of themselves, so proud of their countries and representing with a lot of pride and joy.”

The World Games is a multisport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association. The 11th edition will take place in the US state of Alabama, and the city of Birmingham, on 7-17 July 2022. Some 3600 athletes across 34 sports and from more than 100 countries are slated to take part.

Alongside Lopez, Stephan Hansen, Lisa Unruh, Amedeo Tonelli, Cinzia Noziglia and Istvan Kakas are archery’s reigning champions.

World Games’ – athlete awards

See the full list of athlete awards given by the World Games.

Annual nominations

Monthly winners