Following a sparkling run in Rio and a gold medal, Puerto Rico's Monica Puig received the Best Female Athlete from the National Olympic Committees awards on Tuesday. South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk (Track, 400 meters) won the men's award.
Puig gave Puerto Rico its first gold medal in Olympic play last August when she bested Angelique Kerber in the final match. The 23-year-old defeated two opponents ranked in the top five during the tournament and became the first unseeded tournament winner since tennis came back to the multi-sport competition in 1988.
Such an honor to win the award for Best Female Athlete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games! Thanks to my friends, family, ANOC, COPUR and my team! pic.twitter.com/Vuwf0QKF7D
— Monica Puig (@MonicaAce93) November 15, 2016
The ceremony, held in Doha, Qatar, also honored the Fiji men's rugby sevens squad as the best team performance, with the distinction on the female side being given to Great Britain and its field hockey team. Both teams won the gold medal in their respective sports in Rio.
"A big, big thank you to Puerto Rico," said Puig upon receiving her award. "I know for many years to come I will continue to keep making you proud," she continued. To the delight of her fans, Puig also shouted out “sí se puede” before ending her acceptance speech.
It was only one of the big news items Puig revealed this week, as it was also confirmed on Wednesday that she would be facing Maria Sharapova in San Juan for an exhibition match next December. “I can't wait to come 'home' and bring competitive tennis back to the Island,” she wrote on her Facebook page.