Isinbayeva and Alekna named European Athlete of the Year
Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and Lithuanian discus thrower Virgilijus Alekna have been voted the winners of the Waterford Crystal European Athlete of the Year Trophy 2005. For both it is the first time that they have won the award.
Alekna was beaten only once in 2005 in 20 competitions and finished the year fourth in the IAAF overall male world rankings. The 33-year-old took Gold at the World Championships in Helsinki with a last round throw of 70.17m, the first ever throw over 70m at a global championships, and one of five competitions over 70 metres for Alekna in 2005.
Isinbayeva (23), who finished second behind Kelly Holmes in last year’s European Athlete of the Year poll, made history this year when she became the first woman ever to clear five metres in the pole vault in London on 22 July. She improved to 5.01m, her ninth world record of the year, to win the World title in Helsinki. In March she became European Indoor champion, winning with a world indoor record of 4.90m. She finished the year top of the IAAF overall female world rankings and was also named World Athlete of the Year.
The European Athlete of the Year internet poll on the EAA website was open to Member Federations, the media and the public through three different voting forms. For both athletes the result was unanimous, with them topping the voting in all three categories.
World 110m hurdles champion Ladji Doucouré (FRA) was runner-up in the men’s poll, with European Indoor high jump champion Stefan Holm (SWE) and World hammer champion Ivan Tikhon (BLR) taking joint third place.
World heptathlon champion Carolina Klüft (SWE) took second place amongst the women, ahead of Golden League jackpot winner Tatyana Lebedeva and World marathon champion Paula Radcliffe (GBR).
1. Virgilijus Alekna (LTU), 3 points
2. Ladji Doucouré (FRA), 6
3. Stefan Holm (SWE), 12
3. Ivan Tikhon (BLR), 12
5. Yuriy Borzakovskiy (RUS), 15
5. Roman Sebrle (CZE), 15
7. Rens Blom (NED), 20
8. Tero Pitkämäki (FIN), 24
9. Andreas Thorkildsen (NOR), 35
9. Andrus Värnik (EST), 35
1. Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS), 3 points
2. Carolina Klüft (SWE), 7
3. Tatyana Lebedeva (RUS), 11
3. Paula Radcliffe (GBR), 11
5. Kajsa Bergqvist (SWE), 12
6. Christine Arron (FRA), 18
7. Tatyana Kotova (RUS), 26
8. Yuliya Nosova-Pechonkina (RUS), 28
9. Christina Obergföll (GER), 31
10. Eunice Barber (FRA), 32
10. Olimpiada Ivanova (RUS), 32
Note: An athlete’s points are calculated by adding their position in each of the three voting categories (e.g. Alekna was first in each category, 1+1+1=3)
(EAA Media Service - 09.01.2006)