Lopez named Athlete of the Year a 2nd season running

14 February 2017
Las Vegas, NV (USA)
World Archery’s athletes of 2016 were revealed during the World Archery Gala on Sunday night at The Vegas Shoot.

The World Archery Awards recognise exceptional achievements and contributions for the betterment of the sport from athletes, coaches and volunteers around the world. The winners are announced each year at the World Archery Gala, held in Las Vegas as part of the annual Vegas Shoot.

Each Athlete of the Year award is voted on by the public and an expert panel that, for the first time, included archery journalists and pundits. Over 43,000 public votes were cast between 1 and 31 December 2016.

Here are the winners…

Recurve man: BRADY ELLISON, USA 

In 2016, Brady won an historic fourth Hyundai Archery World Cup Final crown, putting him on two more than any other archer in the circuit’s 11-year history. He also finished third at the Olympic Games, broke world records – and retained his World Archery Field Championships crown, too.

Recurve woman: LISA UNRUH, Germany 

With three nominated Korean women dividing popular voting, Lisa’s polling jumped ahead – and deservedly. In the finest season of her career, 28-year-old Unruh won the World Archery Indoor Championships and finished second at the Olympic Games in Rio.

Compound man: MIKE SCHLOESSER, Netherlands 

The world number one ranked compound man at the end of 2016, Mister Perfect won his first Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Odense, came second at the world indoors in Ankara and consistently podiumed, indoors and out.

Compound woman: SARA LOPEZ, Colombia 

Since the Hyundai Archery World Cup was launched in 2006, Sara has spent longer at world number one than any other athlete. She was unbeaten internationally in 2016, winning all three stops of the tour – but didn’t attend the finals due to personal reasons.

Para man: ANDRE SHELBY, USA 

A Paralympic debutant in Rio, Shelby brought home the competitive compound men’s open individual gold medal, saying: “It’s unbelievable. I’ve worked really hard. Things have really come together.”

Para woman: ZAHRA NEMATI, Iran 

As well as making her Olympic debut in Rio, Nemati was able to win her second individual Paralympic title in as many Games in 2016. Iran’s most famous para athlete – Nemati carried her nation’s flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

Breakthrough athlete: SJEF VAN DEN BERG, Netherlands 

Twenty-one-year-old Sjef won his first major international in Shanghai to open the outdoor season, came fourth at the Olympic Games and capped his breakthrough year with a silver medal at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.

International Coach: Moon Hyung Cheol, Korea

Head coach of the most successful national archery team at the Olympics ever, Moon Hyung Cheol’s Korea won all four gold medals at Rio 2016: men’s and women’s individual and team. He said afterwards that his message to the six archers at the Games was to “enjoy training”.

“That’s what I always emphasise to archers and the thing I wanted to change from the previous team.”

Volunteer: Sport team at Rio 

For the first time, the volunteer of the year award was presented to more than one person. For their hard work and dedication throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the sport volunteers of Rio were named World Archery’s volunteers of 2016.

World Archery Awards have been presented annually since 2014 to athletes, officials and volunteers for exceptional performance or contribution to the sport.