Cristian Valenzuela has been named as the best Chilean Para-athlete of the year in athletics after winning a third consecutive gold medal in the men’s 5,000 metres T11 at the 2015 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships in Doha.
For the third straight year, national sports journalists have selected their best athletes in each of the nine Paralympic sports practiced in Chile.
Distance runner Valenzuela also won the silver medal in the 5,000m at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games along with bronze in the 1500m.
Christopher Guajardo, the man who guided the visually impaired Valenzuela to 5,000m T11 success at London 2012, tested positive for erythropoietin during Toronto 2015.
In wheelchair basketball, Rodrigo Osorio was voted the best athlete owing to his performances in international competitions and as member of the national wheelchair basketball league's winning team, Dach de Santiago.
In boccia, the award went to Daniel Arellano, the best Chilean representative at the 2015 Boccia World Open in Poznań, Poland.
Valentina Muñoz, who is only 13,, took the swimming honours after posting the minimal qualification time at Toronto 2015 to secure a Rio 2016 Paralympic Games berth.
The powerlifting and table tennis prizes went to Juan Garrido Acevedo and Matías Pino Lorca respectively after both won gold medals at Toronto 2015.
Robinson Méndez was honoured in the wheelchair tennis category after a season which saw him move up from number 120 to number 41 in the world rankings.
The list was completed by participants in the only two team sports in which Chile was represented at Toronto 2015; Juan Rodríguez, captain of the Chile wheelchair rugby team, and Renato Villagra from the football five-a-side squad.
Garrido Acevedo, Pino Lorca and Valenzuela have also been nominated to win the Best of Best Paralympics award that will be presented at a ceremony that will honour both Para and able-bodied athletes.
Powerlifter Jorge Carinao Cardenas, gold medallist in the men’s under 54 kilogram category at Toronto 2015, and athlete Margarita Faúndez Orellana, winner in the 1500m T12 at Toronto 2015, are also in the running.