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Boris Becker – Leimen, Alemania.

The former world number one tennis player is possibly one of the most high-profile sporting stars of modern times. He still holds the Guinness World Record for being the youngest ever winner on the grass courts of Wimbledon. With his stance against racism and intolerance, he is the symbol of the new Germany, outward-looking and cosmopolitan. Lastly, it should be mentioned that he was Olympic Champion (Barcelona 92, gold medal in doubles) and won more than 60 tournaments throughout his career, including 6 Grand Slams: three Wimbledon titles, two Australian Opens, and one US Open.

Omara Portuondo – La Havana, Cuba.

A legend in Cuban music, Omara Portuondo started her solo career in 1959. With an extensive body of work that comprises more than 40 solo recordings, as well as in collaboration with other artists, she is regarded as one of the founders of the "feeling" movement. In 2000, her career was re-launched when she joined the Buenavista Social Club, a music project that brought veteran musicians together and became the most relevant phenomenon in the last 50 years of Cuban music. Omara Portuondo will sing in the Gala Evening, with Maestro Patterson's Orchestra and Maestro Santiago Alfonso's Dance Troupe.   

Gary Payton – Oakland, California.

An outstanding basketball player who played in the NBA between 1990 and 2007. Currently retired, he played as a point guard, in Seattle Supersonics, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. He was known as "The Glove" for his great skill stealing the ball as a defense player. He won one NBA Championship and played 3 finals. He took part in the All-Starts tournament nine times, in two of which he was chosen one of the best five NBA players by the audience. He was also named the best defense player in 1996 and was part of the United States Olympic team in the Atlanta 96 and Sydney 2000 Olympics, winning gold both times.

Dario Balzanelli – Roma, Italia. 

An acclaimed tenor in Europe, who decided to develop as an artist in Cuba, the country which he regards as the maximum representative of love, dignity, and strength. He was a disciple of Luciano Pavarotti and is regarded as his successor, having taken part in many concerts in his honor all over the world.  He was awarded the Italian Kaleidos Prize to the Tenor of the Year.  He made the first DVD recording of Puccini's opera Edgar, which he performed in the Euro-Mediterranean Festival in Rome, in 2004. Balzanelli will sing "La Comparsa" at the high point of the Gala Evening of the XV Habanos Festival, when the Partagás Gran Reserva is launched. 

Goedele Liekens– Aarschot, Bélgica.

A paradigm of European beauty, she was chosen the most beautiful woman in Belgium in 1986. A media professional, she founded the Belgian Television Academy. She has worked in various media channels and currently runs her own magazine, GDL. She is also a trained sexologist, and as such is very involved in the fight against the sexual exploitation of women in underdeveloped countries, particularly since she was made a UN Goodwill Ambassador in 1999. She collaborates in this respect with the United Nations Fund for Demographic Control.  


Dale Davis  Marcus Liberty

Basketball players – NBA. United States

Famous American basketball players who played in the NBA for most of their careers. Davis played in such teams as the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons, where Liberty also played during 4 seasons.

Grgur Baksic Zoran Sime Simunic Pantelija Pekic

Gastronomadi Team - Zagreb, Croatia

Three standard bearers for the Balkans and the potential impact that the region can have on the world, these chefs have chosen to showcase Croatia's greatest treasure: The fusion of different cultures, resulting from Roman, Turkish, and Austro-Hungarian historical influences, which they adapt to their cooking. Together they formed Gastronomadi, a consultancy and community of highly-regarded gastronomic experts. It was created to promote the taste for simplicity and nature, rural surroundings and classic savoir faire. These pioneering chefs will be the main attraction at the Cooking Show "Tobacco and Gastronomy”, during which they will, live and exclusively, prepare haute cuisine recipes using the world's best tobacco from Vuelta Abajo*. There will also be an opportunity to try their dishes at the Vegueros Evening on 28 February and the Gala Evening on 2 March, which will be the climax to the XV Habanos Festival.

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