06 NOV 2011 General News 6 November 2011 – Prague, Czech Republic

Špotáková again Czech athlete of the year

Barbora Spotakova after winning the Czech athlete of the year award for the fifth time (Tomáš Železný for atletika.cz)Barbora Spotakova after winning the Czech athlete of the year award for the fifth time (Tomáš Železný for atletika.cz) © Copyright

Prague, Czech Republic - In a live televised ceremony on Saturday (5), Barbora Špotáková was named the Czech athlete of the year for the firth consecutive year.


The World record holder in the Javelin Throw and the silver medallist at this year’s World Championships was the overwhelming choice in the Czech Federation’s annual poll. Her coach, men’s World record holder Jan Železný, was also named coach of the year in the ceremony broadcast live on Czech national television.


Špotáková began the season under new guidance by Železný, but not quite impressively. But still, as the World Championships drew closer, the better her results became. And athletics fans – not necessarily Czech – won’t soon forget her battle in Daegu with Russian rival Maria Abakumova, arguably one of the greatest moments at the World Championships in general. Unlike at the Olympics in Beijing, Špotáková didn’t emerge victorious, despite throwing further than she did at the Olympic Games. Her 71.58m effort in Daegu was the second best of her career, second only to her 72.28m World record toss at the 2008 World Athletics Final in Stuttgart. As the only Czech medallist at the World Championships – adding to her streak of major podium finishes which began at the 2006 European Championship in Gothenburg – she was a clear winner in the polling where 132 votes were cast.


Finishing second was high jumper Jaroslav Bába who finally came back with a medal after several years without podium positions. The 2004 Olympic bronze medallist took silver at the European Indoor championships and just missed bronze in Daegu.


Only a few points separated places three through six. Czech 400m Hurdles record holder and Daegu finalist Zuzana Hejnová was third just ahead of European indoor champions Denisa Rosolová (400m) and Petr Svoboda (60m Hurdles) and Vítezslav Veselý, who finished fourth in the Javelin Throw at the World Championships. Roman Šebrle, who took bronze in the Heptathlon at the European Indoor Championships, finished in the top 10 for the 14th (!) time. He was athlete of the year from 2002 to 2006.


Javelin legend Železný, who coaches both Špotáková and Veselý, received formal recognition as a coach by clearly winning this category ahead of his predecessor, Martin Blažková, who coaches Hejnová and Rosolová. Discus thrower Marek Bárta, who produced three national junior records and finished fifth at the European junior championships in Tallinn, was named the junior athlete of the year. Sprinter Pavel Maslák, the European under 23 bronze medallist and Daegu semi-finalist, convincingly took the break-through category.


Michal Procházka for the IAAF


Results of the Czech “Athlete of the Year 2011” (132 votes):

1. Barbora Špotáková 1313 points

2. Jaroslav Bába 1113

3. Zuzana Hejnová 825

4. Denisa Rosolová 807

5. Petr Svoboda 782

6. Vítezslav Veselý 771

7. Jirina Ptácníková 528

8. Roman Šebrle 305

9. Pavel Maslák 176

10. Katerina Cachová 166


Coach:

1. Jan Železný 105 votes

2. Martina Blažková 23


Junior:

1. Marek Bárta 48 votes

2. Eliška Drahotová 29

3. Marek Bakalár 12


Break-through:

1. Pavel Maslák 59 votes

2. Marek Bakalár 11

3. Adam Sebastian Helcelet 9