· The government has assumed its responsibility, promoting transformations that will put us in a better position to cope with adversity, he said.

· He expressed his gratitude to José Sulaimán Chagnon, who received the National Sports Merit Award 2015 posthumously.

President Enrique Peña Nieto said today that, “As in sport, Mexico is a country determined to improve its performance, to be better, to excel and to distinguish itself in the world’s eyes, and we are doing this, the world is acknowledging this.”

On the Francisco I. Madero esplanade in the official residence of Los Pinos, where he led the ceremony for the National Sports Award and the National Sports Merit Award 2015, the president stressed that, “This government has assumed its responsibility, it has driven changes and transformations that have put us in a better position to face the vicissitudes of fate, the changes of fortune that the world offers today, the adversity we are experiencing.”

He added that as in any sport, “We are preparing, we are, in fact, better prepared and trained and in a stronger position to cope with adverse scenarios, stand out, distinguish ourselves and, above all, continue to build a Mexico with greater opportunities, better conditions and greater prosperity for Mexican society.”

"That is our goal, that is what we are focusing our work on and as in any sports discipline, we will have to succeed in winning medals, not for the government, not for the president but for all Mexicans and for the good of Mexican society,” he said.

The president declared that what his government has been promoting is, “To help Mexico move and strengthen its ability to give more to Mexican society, and to harvest the benefits we have achieved in the past decades in which we have evolved to a country in harmony, with social peace, a country with institutions that has been built precisely to boost opportunities for all Mexicans.”

Stating that, “The government is very clear about its commitment to continue to support  our athletes in their activities, their efforts and their dedication,” the president declared that the head of the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sport has been tasked with using all the capabilities and resources of the government assigned to sport in a way that will best serve, prepare and train athletes.

He declared that in 2015, public spending on sport amounted to more than seven billion pesos, “That's the investment we will be making in sport,” he said, adding that, “It is a significant investment which, properly used, properly assigned and properly focused, will undoubtedly bear greater fruits and bring greater glory to national sport.”

He announced that agreements have been signed with Cuba and China to have the support of 46 Cuban  and 23 Chinese coaches to improve the training of high-performance athletes.

Likewise, in order to expand and strengthen sports infrastructure nationwide, 20 sports units are currently being remodeled or built in 12 states in Mexico.

MEXICAN ATHLETES SHOW THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO OVERCOME ANY BARRIERS OR OBSTACLES

The president expressed his gratitude to José Sulaimán Chagnon, who received the posthumous National Sports Merit Award 2015, “For everything he did to promote boxing in Mexico and the world,” when he served as President of the World Boxing Council for nearly four decades,, driving visionary changes that gave rise to a new era in professional boxing, he added.

I was excited to hear what he said in the video we have just seen: his pride at being Mexican, his acknowledgement of this country and the acknowledgement of what this country can provide for its own glory precisely through its children, Mexican men and women who have distinguished themselves in various fields,” he said.

He told Mexican athletes that through their victories in various sports they have proved that it is possible, that when there is a will and a passion to do things, there is a way and that it is possible to overcome any barrier or obstacle.

He stressed that one of the virtues Mexican athletes have shown in recent years is their desire and ability to outdo themselves and their desire to become the best in the world. Those who have won prizes today, he continued, “Are precisely an example of the fact that  in Mexico, it is possible to find talent, to be talented, to compete with anyone in the world and to win by being better than them.”

He noted that the awards presented today are a recognition of their discipline, dedication and sacrifice in order to stand out and excel in the various competitions. 

“It is because they have put their bodies and souls into training and excelling in different disciplines. That is why, as president, it is a great honor and a great distinction for me to be the one to give you this recognition, this well-deserved recognition for your dedication and work, for honoring Mexico and taking the colors of our flag to the various disciplines,” he said.

At the ceremony, the president presented the National Sports Award 2015 in the category of Non-Professional Sports to Saul Gutiérrez Macedo for Taekwondo and to Crisanto Grajales Valencia for the triathlon.

In professional sports, Gustavo Alfonso Ayón Aguirre won the prize for basketball; in Paralympic Sport, Edith Nely Miranda Herrera won the swimming award, and Amalia Perez Velazquez won the powerlifting prize. In the trainers’ category, the winners were Eugenio Adrián Chimal Dominguez, triathlon coach, and José Raúl Peláez Ampudia, swim coach in Paralympic sport.

The National Sports Merit Award 2015 for Outstanding Performance and Career in Mexican Sport was presented to Guillermo Echevarría y Pérez in Swimming; while the posthumous Award for the Encouragement, Protection and Promotion of Sports, was presented to José Sulaimán Chagnón.

ORDER AND THE RIGHT OF ATHLETES  AT THE CENTER OF THE TRANSFORMATION AND MODERNIZATION OF ORGANIZED SPORT: ALFREDO CASTILLO

Alfredo Castillo Cervantes, Director General of the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sport, said that this institution has placed order and the rights of athletes at the center of the transformation and modernization of organized sport.

This has been done, he said, “Through the effective, efficient use of public resources; transparency and access to sport; through investment in public sports facilities and the reorganization of the National Skills System to address shortcomings  in the care and training of our children and our youth.”

It has also been done, he added, “Through the commitment of the Mexican state and institutions, all of which are linked to the National Sports System.”

He said that the National Sports Award and the National Sports Merit Award 2015 are designed to celebrate and recognize the most outstanding heroes and athletes, not only those who excel in competition but also those who train and help them with their knowledge, in this case, the trainers.

Likewise, he said, “We also acknowledge the men and women who have dedicated their whole lives to sport, Mexicans who have become institutions.”

He said that the National Sports Award is the symbolic act whereby the Mexican government recognizes those who have been able to outdo themselves every day and every night, meeting the challenge of discipline, continuity, repetition and routine, which shapes the skills and physical and mental strengths that makes them the best in a country, a continent or the world.

WE HAVE THE HEART AND COURAGE TO FACE WORLD-CLASS ADVERSARIES: NELY MIRANDA

On behalf of the winners, Nely Edith Miranda Herrera, National Sports Award 2015 winner in the discipline of swimming, said that Mexican athletes, “have the heart and courage to face world class adversaries,” and asked President Enrique Peña Nieto to continue to support them, “As he has done so far.”

Likewise, she said: “Do not abandon us. We and you have the name of Mexico tattooed on our minds, let us fight for Mexico together.”

She told the president: “It is clear you are driving a change in the country,” noting that, “Many things are needed for this change, but above all, we need to work as a team.”

In this regard, she, “Called on the whole sports family to unite, to take Mexican sport to the levels it deserves.” She urged the athletes gathered on the Francisco I. Madero esplanade at the official Los Pinos residence: “To show that even though the outlook seems bleak, Mexican sport is able to unite and set an example of teamwork to all of Mexican society.”

She explained that, “We are a community of athletes who have believed in the government .” We have felt your support because with the resources you have provided, we can train and be in a position to compete in search of glory and say we represent Mexico.”

She said that in the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games, she won six medals in six events, four gold and two silver, as well as breaking American records and one world record. “Achieving these goals requires absolute, unrestricted support without politicizing sports,” she said.

“Let this be quite clear,” she said, “None of those of us who are here live in the past or on the basis of our memories. I think we will all continue working hard for Rio de Janeiro, which is our main objective. We are doing this in your presence. It encourages us to keep working harder.”

She hoped that Mexican athletes would reach  Rio 2016, “Strong and well prepared,"”because, she said, Those of us who are here are hungry and thirsty to succeed and give our best.”