Ilic Accolades in Chile

(ATR) The IOC member and Panam Sports leader is honored for his quick rise in power…

(ATR) It’s been a big year for Neven Ilic.

He began 2017 as the President of the Chile Olympic Committee and ended it as an IOC member and the newly elected president of Panam Sports, the continental association for the 41 National Olympic Committees of the Americas.

Ilic was honored as sports leader of the year during the Olympic Gala organized this week by the Chilean Olympic Committee.

Also recognized at the gala in Santiago were the outstanding athletes of the year.

María Fernanda Valdés was named the best athlete of Chile in 2017. She won gold at the recent World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim, California.

"I am super proud, I had no idea the truth and I am very surprised to receive this award. When they said my name I was looking the other way, since I really did not expect it. I was more surprisedthan when I won the gold medal in the world championship. I still cannot really believe it," said Fernanda Valdés.

Swimmer Alberto Abarza was named Paralympic athlete of the year.

Minister of Sport Pablo Squella and the COC President Miguel Angel Mújica presided over the event.

Mujica was elected this year to succeed Ilic, who has had to shift his attention to his new duties.

Ilic led the national tennis federation between 2000 and 2004 and was COC president between 2004 and 2017.

On April 26 he was elected President of the Pan American Sports Organization, defeating rivals Carlos Nuzman of Brazil and Joaquin Puello from the Dominican Republic.

In September he was elected member of the International Olympic Committee, leading to his resignation as COC president.

In November Ilic led the Panam Sports general assembly as it ratified Santiago as the host of the 2023 Pan American Games.

Reported by Miguel Hernandez.