Czech javelin star Barbora Špotáková was been crowned as her country’s best athlete for the fifth successive year at a glittering awards night gala in Prague on Saturday, which was shown live on television.
Špotáková got the only Czech medal at the 2011 World Championships when she finished second in a thrilling contest with Russia’s Mariya Abakumova.
Abakumova held the lead with a massive 71.25m in the second round but Špotáková showed her mettle by launching her javelin out to 71.58m , which was the third longest ever behind, only for her Russian rival to immediately respond with 71.99m.
High jumper Jaroslav Bába, who got the silver medal at the 2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships and just missed out on the podium in Daegu when he finished fourth, was equally secure in second place.
A notable name further down the list of results was that of decathlon world record holder and 2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships heptathlon bronze medallist Roman Šebrle, who made the top 10 for the 14th year when he finished in eighth place, having been the Athlete of the Year himself for five consecutive years from 2002 to 2006.
Javelin legend and current world record holder Jan Železný, who won the Athlete of the Year a record seven times along with shot putter Helena Fibingerová, won the Coach of The Year poll for the first time after taking over the coaching of Špotáková at the start of the year.
Discus thrower Marek Bárta. who produced three national junior records and finished fifth at the European Athletics Junior Championships in Tallinn, got the junior award while the 20-year-old sprinter Pavel Maslák, European Athletics U23 Championships 200m bronze medallist and Daegu semifinalist, convincingly took the ‘breakthrough’ category.
Athlete of the Year voting (top 10):
1. Barbora Špotáková 1313
2. Jaroslav Bába 1113
3. Zuzana Hejnová 825
4. Denisa Rosolová 807
5. Petr Svoboda 782
6. Vítězslav Veselý 771
7. Jiřina Ptáčníková 528
8. Roman Šebrle 305
9. Pavel Maslák 176
10. Kateřina Cachová 166
Source: European Athletics