Ana Marcela Cunha is one of the three finalists up for the 2015 Brazilian Olympic Award, which is the highest honour that a Brazilian athlete can receive. Cunha won gold in the 25km and bronze in the 10km open water events at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan.
She will be up against Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas who won gold at the Beach Volleyball World Championships and Fabiana Murer who won silver in the pole vault at both the World Championships and the Pan American Games.
On the men’s side the three contenders include Bruno Schmidt and Alison Cerutti (beach volleyball), Isaquias Queiroz (canoeing) and Marcelo Melo (tennis).
The finalists for the awards were announced by the Brazilian Olympic Committee today. This is only the second time since 2007 that a pool swimmer was not included as finalist for the award.
Thiago Pereira won the award in 2007 while Cesar Cielo received the honour in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Another open water athlete, Poliana Okimoto, won the award in 2013.
The Brazilian Olympic Committee also announced the top athlete for each sport. Pereira was recognized as the swimmer of the year. Pereira won the silver in the 200 IM at the World Championships as well a silver in the same event at the Pan American Games and a bronze in the 200 breaststroke.