05 October 2011
Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar) has today been named as the men’s European Athlete of the Year 2011 by European Athletics.
The pinnacle achievement of Farah’s 2011 was undoubtedly winning the gold medal in the 5000m at the recent World Championships in Daegu, South Korea – becoming the first European athlete since Dieter Baumann in 1992 to win a global title at the distance.
A silver medal in the 10,000m at the same championships underlined the 28-year-old’s coming of age on the world stage in 2011.
The year began in superb fashion for Farah when he set a European indoor record over 5000m at the Aviva Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham, circling 25 laps of the National Indoor Arena in 13:10.60. He successfully defended his 3000m title at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Paris in March.
As winter turned to summer, the self-confessed Arsenal fan was again breaking records. He ran a European 10,000m record of 26:46.57 when winning at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon, in June and in July he set a 2011 world-leading 5000m mark of 12:53.11 in Monaco, a time which ranked him second on the European all-time lists for the event as well as being a UK record.
Farah is the second UK athlete in the space of a week to win an award from European Athletics. On Friday young sprint sensation Jodie Williams was announced as the winner of the female European Athletics Rising Star Award.
The endurance specialist becomes the sixth UK athlete to win the men’s category since its inception in 1993.
Speaking about his award, Farah said:
“I am delighted to be selected as European Athlete of the Year for 2011. I would like to thank the European Athletics Association and everyone who voted for me.
"The last few years have been great for me – in 2010 I won the distance double in the European T&F Championships and was able to further improve and be successful at global level in 2011.
"It is an honour to win this award ahead of such great athlete like Christophe Lemaitre and Dai Green and I am humbled to join such a distinguished list of athletes who have won this award in the past.
"I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get to this stage of my career, in particular my coach Alberto Salazar, my family, my management team and UKA’s Endurance Department. I will continue working hard and aim to stay on top in 2012 and beyond.”
Elsewhere, World 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene (Malcolm Arnold) finished third out of the 12 nominated athletes.
Fans, media and European Athletics Member Federations were invited to vote for the European Athlete of the Year on the European Athletics website. Along with the votes from a panel of experts, each group of voters' results counted for one quarter of the athlete's final score.