Bronze medallists from the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, Bosnian 800m specialist Amel Tuka and Serbian long jumper Ivana Spanovic, who was also crowned European indoor champion earlier this year, have been named Balkan Athletes of the Year.
The two were presented their awards during the 5th annual Balkan Athletics Gala held in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 18 November.
European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen and CEO Christian Milz were in attendance following their visit to Armenia earlier in the week.
“The Balkan nations are passionate about athletics and we are noticing more athletes developing into international champions and we can expect the level to keep on rising in the years to come,” said President Hansen.
Romanian long jumper Florentina Marincu and Slovenian javelin thrower Matija Muhar, both European junior champions from Eskilstuna last summer, were given the Rising Star awards.
Special certificates were presented to the leaders of the ABAF Federations as well as to coaches in recognition for their contribution to the development of athletics.
Dobromir Karamarinov, European Athletics Vice President and President of the Association of Balkan Athletics Federations (ABAF), praised the organisers for the successful staging of the event in Tbilisi.
“The Gala was organised at the highest level, and the Georgian federation can look forward to next year as Tbilisi will stage the first European Athletics Youth Championships and is also bidding for the 2020 European Athletics Championships,” Karamarinov said.
The 16 Member Federations that form ABAF are Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, FYR of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey.