Stuart Weir felt we needed to know something on the European nominees for EAA Athlete of year…
European athlete of the year
European athletics has just announced the 10 male and 10 female nominations for European athlete of the year. It is an impressive list (see below) and shows that European athletics is in rude health. The 20 athletes come from 10 countries, displaying an impressive diversity. There are four Germans and four “Russians” who compete under the ANA flag, three Poles, two from Sweden and two from Great Britain and one each from five countries.
The women’s list is particularly impressive.
Sifan Hassan completed a unique double in the recent world championship – 1500m and 10,000m – going through three rounds of the 1500m with the effects of the 10,000 still in her legs. And to prove her impressive range she won the Diamond League championship at 5,000m. Oh, did I mention that she also broke the world mile record.
Mariya Lasitskene has dominated the high jump in recent years, making 2 meters look easy.
Malaika Mihambo does seven meter jumps for fun. As I wrote in my report on the world championship, I have seen her jump 7 meters in five countries this summer. While one seven metre jump would have been sufficient to win this year’s world championship, Mihambo did it, repeated it and they did a third time – I supposed to show it wasn’t a fluke!
Katerina Johnson-Thompson is also on the list. She is an athlete who has promised much but has not quite delivered her full potential – until Doha 2019 when she beat her great rival – another European – Nafi Thiam – to win the heptathlon world championship in a world leading, British record score.
I have a standing joke with Dina Asher-Smith – I ask her if she is better at 100 or 200 and she replies “I don’t know!” And as if to prove her point she is world champion at 200m and Diamond League champion and 100m. Last year she won three gold medals at the European championship and some people said OK but wait on till she faces world class competition. She did and she beat them!
The women’s pole vault is a very competitive discipline with Katerina Stefanidi and Sandi Morris to contend with but the 2019 world championship was Anzhelika Sidorova, who kept her nerve and managed the competition magnificently.
If Katerina Johnson-Thompson is the best female all rounder then Niklaus Kaul is the top man, proving it with his world championship winning performance in Doha in the decathlon.
Pawel Faidek is the world champion in the hammer and Daniel Stahl in the discus, showing that the European tradition in throwing events is alive and well.
My vote for European athlete of the year would go to Karsten Warholm for his consistency of excellence. He was another whose European championship winning performance was not taken too seriously last year because everyone knew that the 400 hurdles this year was all about Rai Benjamin and Abderrahman Samba. OK, Samba got injured but you can only beat those who are in the race, something that Warholm did consistently this year.
Warholm is not only a worthy winner he is genuinely nice guy and funny man. At the London Diamond League he told the press that he had wanted to buy a race horse as he thought he could make money out it – adding “I am from the Scottish part of Norway so I like money”. His master plan failed because his coach declined to train the horse!
Ten male nominees
Pawel Fajdek – World hammer champion
Niklas Kaul – World decathlon champion
Daniel Stahl – World discus champion
Karsten Warholm – World 400m hurdles champion
Mikhail Akimenko – World high jump silver medallist
Perseus Karlstrom – World 20km race walk bronze medallist
Magnus Kirt – World javelin silver medallist
Marcin Lewandowski – European indoor 1500m champion
Sergey Shubenkov – World 110m hurdles silver medallist
Amel Tuka – World 800m silver medallist
Ten female nominees
Dina Asher-Smith – World 200m champion
Sifan Hassan – World 1500m and 10,000m champion
Mariya Lasitskene – World champion High jump
Katarina Johnson-Thompson – World heptathlon champion
Malaika Mihambo – World long jump champion
Anzhelika Sidorova – World champion pole vault
Konstanze Klosterhalfen – World 5000m bronze medallist
Gesa Felicitas Krause – World 3000m steeplechase bronze medallist
Joanna Fiodorow – World hammer silver medallist
Eleonora Giorgi – World 50km race walk bronze medallist