Divers Juan Celaya-Hernandez, Yahel Castillo Earn Mexican National Sports Award

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Juan Celaya-Hernandez; Photo Courtesy: LSU Athletics

The synchronized diving tandem of Juan Celaya-Hernandez and Yahel Castillo were named Thursday as 2020 recipients of the Mexican Olympic Committee’s National Sports Award (PND).

Castillo and Celaya-Hernandez won a bronze medal in the three-meter synchro event at the FINA Diving Series in the summer of 2019 in Kazan, Russia. They added bronze at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, and gold at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Individually, Celaya-Hernandez won Pan Am gold on the one-meter springboard and silver in the three-meter.

Celaya-Hernandez and Castillo were among three amateur sports winners, joining cyclist Jessica Salazar Vallez and the women’s softball team.

The performance at Worlds earned Celaya-Hernandez and Castillo a spot in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Juan Celaya-Hernandez is a senior at LSU, ready to start his final campaign next week. He holds the SEC Championships record in the men’s one-meter springboard, set in 2018.

Castillo, 33, won his first international medals in 2011 with bronze in the three-meter synchro at the World Championships and golds at Pan Ams in the three-meter springboard and three-meter synchro (paired then with Julian Sanchez).

“What a terrific honor it is for Juan and Yahel to be selected for this award by the Comite’ Olimpico Mexicano” LSU head diving coach Doug Shaffer said in a team statement. “Their hard work and dedication is truly admirable.”

The PND also recognized: professional tennis player Renata Zarazúa Ruckstuhl, taekwondo Paralympian Juan Diego Garcia Lopez, coaches Diankov Stefan Marinov and Jesús Salvador González Arreola, and judge-referee Lucila Venegas Montes. Baseball great Fernando Valenzuela won a lifetime achievement award.

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