Puerto Rico celebrated its 75th anniversary . COPUR

The Puerto Rico Olympic Committee celebrated its 75th anniversary with an Olympic Dinner at a luxury hotel in the capital San Juan, where the best athletes from 33 participating federations were honoured. Puerto Rico is an associated state of the United States of America.

The gala dinner included a ceremony that began with a performance by the father of Puerto Rican Olympism, Julio Enrique Monagas, and the actor Pedro Telemaco. There was also a retrospective of the Olympic Movement on the island of more than 3.2 million inhabitants, highlighting key figures who have been recognised around the world.

It covered the achievements of sporting legends who have won gold, including the first, boxer Juan Venegas, and the first woman to win a gold medal, tennis player Monica Puis in Rio 2016, among many other important athletes.

Sara Rosario, the first woman to serve as president of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee (COPUR), was also on hand to welcome the crowd and predict a strong performance from her athletes at the Paris 2024 Games: "It's been a tough year, more than usual. Full of great triumphs and memories that will last forever. We are now in the countdown to Paris 2024 and we have a very good chance of being on the podium."

Among those honoured by COPUR were basketball players Tremont Waters and Arella Guirantes, volleyball players Omar Hoyos and Wilmarie Rivera, baseball players Kevin Luciano and Lisandra Berríos, hockey players Eddie Fuentes and Lyneishka León, handball players Nathaly Ceballos and Pablo Montes, and softball players Aleisha Ocasio and Emmanuel Colón.

In combat sports, where the Caribbean nation has always excelled, recognition was given to boxers Caleb Tirado and Ashleyann Lozada, fencers Rafael Western and Gabriel Padua, judokas Adrian Gandía and Maria Pérez, and karatekas Luis Torres and Jeanessa Fonseca. In wrestling, Sebastian Rivera and Nes Marie Rodriguez received awards, as did Luis Colon and Arelis Medina in taekwondo.

In other sports, the winners were Luis Bermudez and Augusta Campos in shotgun, Yarimar Mercado and Gustavo Enriquez in shooting, Paola Ramirez and Jean Pizarro in archery and Kelvin Hernández and María Fernanda Torres in golf. The siblings Karianet Morales and Marcos Morales in badminton and Adriana Díaz and Brian Afanador in table tennis players were also recognised.

Also honoured were Jasmine Camacho Quinn and Luis Joel Castro in athletics, Nelson Guilbe and Stella Daaz in gymnastics, and Cristian Azcona and Taishaye Naranjo in bowling. Georwill Pérez received the award in cycling, Eddie Barranco in canoeing, and Max Torres and Alelí Medina in surfing.

In equestrian, Lauren Billys and Vasco Flores were honoured; in skateboarding, Steven Piñeiro and Vianez Morales; in sailing, Pedro Fernández and Marina Escudero; in weightlifting, Howard Roche and Kidaisha Lopez; and in swimming, Emanuel Vázquez and Maycey Vieta. Paralympic athletes Yaimillie Colon and Carmelo Rivera also received much applause.

The event also paid tribute to people associated with the world of sports who are not currently athletes, as coaches Camilo Esteves (handball), Carlos 'Cholo' Espada (boxing), Jessica Garcia (judo) and Franklin Lantigua (wrestling). 

It's worth noting that the Puerto Rican delegation won 25 gold, 27 silver, and 44 bronze medals in San Salvador, and three gold, six silver, and 11 bronze medals at the Pan American Games in Santiago de Chile.