Latin American editors and sports commentators chose sportsmen from Brazil and Uruguay as the best of the region in 2010, according to the annual Prensa Latina News Agency survey, carried out since 1965.
Some 115 journalists from 13 countries, representing newspapers, radio, TV and digital media, sent their opinions to Prensa Latina.
They chose Brazilian Fabiana Murer, world pole vault champion and leader in the Diamond League, as the best female athlete.
Soccer player Diego Forlan from Uruguay was chosen as the top male.
The team sport award went to the Brazilian men’s volleyball team. Together with Murer, this made Brazil top-ranking. Details of the survey indicate that the Brazilian athlete received 38 votes for Best Sportswoman and 13 votes as Outstanding Athlete, giving her a great advantage over her closest rival, Cuban female triple jump champion Yargelis Savigne.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian men’s volleyball team, winner of the World League and Championship, received strong competition from the Argentine women’s field hockey team, but finally took the lead with 55 votes to 26 Uruguayan Forlan, awarded the Golden Ball as the best player in the FIFA 2010 World Cup, was preferred by 50 news media, and left Argentine striker Lionel Messi in second place with 37 votes.
The Top Ten Among the 10 most outstanding athletes in 2010 chosen were Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi, top scorer in the Spanish and Champions League, and Cuban athlete Yargelis Savigne, second at the 2010 World Indoor Championship. In the same selection were Cuban wrestler Mijaín López, world champion in the 120 kg category, Argentine field hockey player Luciana Aymar and the Dominican Republic’s female weightlifter Yudelquis Contreras, double medalist at the world level.
Also included were Brazilian volleyball player Murilo Endres, considered the Most Valuable Player in both the League and World Championship, and baseball players Albert Pujols from the Dominican Republic and Félix Hernández from Venezuela.
The top ten list is completed with two more Cubans: discus thrower Yarelis Barrios, winner of the Diamond League, and Cuban Grandmaster Yaniet Marrero, who won gold at the third board in the World Chess Olympiad 2010.
Since it began in 1964, this survey has had among its winners many of the world’s most famous sports figures, such as Cubans Teófilo Stevenson, Alberto Juantorena, Javier Sotomayor and Ana Fidelia Quirot, Argentine Diego Armando Maradona, Colombians Martín “Cochise” Rodríguez and Alvaro Mejías, Mexicans Ana Guevara, Felipe Muñoz and Lorena Ochoa and Ecuadorian Jefferson Pérez, among many others.