21st September 2022
FOUR BRITISH ATHLETES UP FOR EUROPEAN ATHLETICS AWARDS - HOW TO VOTE
Four British athletes have been nominated across the categories for men’s and women’s European Athletes of the Year and Rising Stars. The winners will be announced at the Golden Tracks award ceremony which takes place in Tallinn, Estonia on 22 October.
The social media vote accounts for one-quarter of the overall vote with the Member Federations vote, media vote and expert panel vote each accounting for one-quarter of the vote. You can cast your vote by retweeting the image of the athlete you wish to vote for on Twitter, by liking the image on Instagram or by liking or sharing on Facebook. Full details are outlined for the British athletes below.
Voting closes across all channels on Friday 30 September and a shortlist of three athletes will be announced in each category in the week starting 3 October.
Men’s European Athletics Athlete of the Year
It has been a quite remarkable summer for Jake Wightman (coach: Geoff Wightman, club: Edinburgh) as he won three medals at three major Championships. The crowning glory came at Hayward Fields in Oregon where Wightman produced a devastating kick to win the men’s 1500m world title, the first British man to do so since Steve Cram in 1983.
It was one of the finest pieces of middle distance running in British athletics history as he moved away from the Olympic champion, Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR), to take his first major title in a personal best time of 3:29.23, which moved him to third on the UK all-time list. Poetically, his father and coach, Geoff, called his race in the stadium commentary which topped off one of the sport’s finest moments.
Wightman went on to win Commonwealth Games bronze in the 1500m just over a couple of weeks later in front of a vocal home crowd in Birmingham. It matched his bronze medal for Scotland from 2018.
A few weeks later, he impressed on his way to silver in the men’s 800m, as he was narrowly pipped to gold by Spain’s Mariano Garcia.
Impressively, Wightman revised his personal bests in the 800m, 1000m, 1500m, mile (track and road) and 3000m (indoor) across the 2022 season. His 800m time of 1:43.65 was also a Scottish record, improving the long-standing record held by Tom McKean from 1989.
He also secured three wins on the Wanda Diamond League circuit across three different distances: Brussels (800m), Monaco (1000m) and Rabat (1500m).
How to vote for Jake:
Women’s European Athletics Athlete of the Year
After bursting into the public eye as she won Olympic silver and European indoor gold in 2021, Keely Hodgkinson (Trevor Painter, Leigh) continued her incredible rise in the sport as she became European (outdoor) champion for first time, and also won medals at the world championships and Commonwealth Games.
The season started in style as she revised the national indoor record to 1:57.20 at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in February. Sadly, injury curtailed her chances of going for World Indoor gold in Belgrade, but the “business decision” paid off as Hodgkinson returned to the track in May in devastating form.
Three Diamond League victories in Birmingham, Eugene and Oslo preceded her silver medal at the World Championships. In Oregon for the latter, she was involved in one of the races of the Championships as she went head-to-head in a rematch with America’s Athing Mu who had edged the Olympic final in Tokyo.
Hodgkinson produced one of the races of her young career to date as she claimed silver, just a matter of hundredths behind the home favourite, Mu.
In Birmingham, the 20-year-old was once again involved in an excellent battle for gold with Kenya’s Mary Moraa. The African got the upper hand to take the title, but the Leigh athlete won the silver for Team England.
But the defining moment of the season for Hodgkinson came in Munich as she comfortably secured the European title on the final weekend of action.
How to vote for Keely:
After reaching the podium in Tokyo last year, Laura Muir (Andy Young, Dundee Hawkhill) stepped up again as she delivered four medals – for GB & NI and Team Scotland – over a very special summer.
Muir’s indoor season was cut short due to injury, but the Scottish athlete made a strong return to fitness to be on top form in the summer months. She opened her outdoor season at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham where she won the 1500m.
Two months later, she delivered an exceptional performance in a World Championship final which was run at such an unrelenting pace. She won the world bronze medal in a superb time of 3:55.28. Muir, eventual winner Faith Kipyegon (KEN), and Gudaf Tsegay (ETH) attacked the race from the outset and never looked back, all but securing their podium places within the opening 200m.
Muir then succeeded in bringing two medals home for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. With two finals in two days, Muir won 800m bronze and 1500m gold to make sure ‘The Flower of Scotland’ was sung loudly in Birmingham.
Completing the year, Muir retained her European title in Munich, impressing through the rounds to ultimately achieve another title to add to her growing collection.
How to vote for Laura:
Women’s European Athletics Rising Star Award
Yemi Mary John
It was a year to remember for Yemi Mary John (Alan James) as she was crowned World U20 champion in Cali, Colombia as she stormed to the women’s 400m title.
The Woodford Green Essex Ladies athlete has already enjoyed a season of progress up to that point. In March, she was called up to her first senior Championships, racing in the Great Britain and Northern Ireland 4x400m quartet at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in both the heats and the final. The team finished fifth overall in a highly competitive final.
But it was in Cali where she produced several sensational performances.
In the three rounds (heats, semi-finals and final) she competed in for the individual 400m, she improved her personal best each time (52.42, 51.72 and 51.50). In the final, she dominated the race to become GB & NI’s newest World U20 champion.
Later in the Championships, she played an important role in the GB & NI team who won bronze in the women’s 4x400m relay. She contributed to two out of the three medals won by the team at the Championships, showing the quality she has as a rising star in world athletics.
How to vote for Yemi: