Spotakova is honoured again


The enduring brilliance and success of Barbora Spotakova has been rewarded once more with her being named as the Czech Athlete of the Year for a record eighth time.

Spotakova, 35, made the Olympic podium for the third Games in a row with bronze in Rio with a throw of 64.80m, and with it another place in the history of Czech athletics.

Winning this title again means she passes shot-putter Helena Fibingerova and fellow javelin legend Jan Zelezny, and her former coach, who topped the poll on seven occasions.

“It is hard to believe that this is the eighth time,” said Spotakova, who received the award at the gala in Prague on Saturday night.

“I am glad that people recognise that I have won a medal at the Olympics.

“I much appreciate this success, because the competition was really strong. It’s also a certain motivation that my throwing still has meaning. This award is a great ending (to a) challenging season.”

Spotakova, whose world record of 72.28m is now more than eight years old, scored 1685 points in the poll as she beat pole vaulter Jan Kudlicka (1433), who won European silver in Amsterdam and was fourth in Rio, and Pavel Maslak (1222), who retained his world indoor 400m crown in Portland.

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High jumper Michaela Hruba, 18, was named as the Junior of the Year after a brilliant summer where she made the final of the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam and then later in July won gold at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz.

The Newcomer of the Year title went to miler Filip Sasinek, who produced a brilliant performance to win the 1500m in 3:36.32 in front of his home fans at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava in May, and while he might have been overtaken by Spotakova in the record books, there was still an honour for Zelezny – who was named as Coach of the Year.

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In Radenci, pole vaulters Robert Renner and Tina Sutej were honoured as Slovenia’s athletes of the year at their gala evening.

Renner, 22, who also won the Slovenian under-23 athlete of the year title, was the bronze medallist at the European Championships and took this award ahead of 400m runner Luka Janezic and 800m runner Zan Rudolf.

Sutej, who was 11th in the Olympic final in Rio, beat javelin thrower Martina Ratej and high jumper Marusa Cernjul.

Discus thrower Veronika Domjan was their female under-23 winner, in the under-20 category, distance runner Jan Kokalj and high jumper Lara Omerzu were crowned and sprinter Gregor Grahovac and long jumper Maja Bedrac won the under-18 titles.

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