11 NOV 2012 General News Prague

Špotáková named Czech Athlete of Year for sixth time

Barbora Špotáková, Vítězslav Veselý and Zuzana Hejnová at the 2012 Czech Athletics Gala (Tomáš Železný/atletika.cz)Barbora Špotáková, Vítězslav Veselý and Zuzana Hejnová at the 2012 Czech Athletics Gala (Tomáš Železný/atletika.cz) © Copyright

11 November 2012  - Prague, Czech Republic - Barbora Špotáková was named the Czech athlete of the year for the sixth consecutive year during a live televised ceremony on Saturday (10).

Olympic title defender in the Javelin Throw, Diamond Race Trophy winner (as in 2010), world leader. What else could Špotáková have done? Well, perhaps break the World record, but she’s held that standard since 2008.

The Czech Javelin star achieved an easy-looking win in London, under the guidance of men’s World record holder Jan Železný and with help from former sprinter Tomáš Dřímal, who is currently her physio and running coach.

Špotáková hasn’t been beaten in the national poll since 2007. More impressively, for the seventh straight year she’s returned home from a major championship with a medal, beginning with the 2006 European Championships in Gothenburg.

Czech Athletic Federation’s poll was organized for 50th time since 1962 (1969 excluded). Officials, coaches & media selected their top ten names in the main category and best coach, junior and breakthrough.  The 152 votes cast was the highest count in 14 years.

The race for second place was clearly won by Zuzana Hejnová who won Olympic bronze in the 400m Hurdles after the frustration of failing to make the podium at the European Championships in Helsinki. Finishing third was Javelin thrower and 2012 world leader Vítězslav Veselý who came away empty handed from the Olympics, where he finished fourth, in an otherwise excellent season in which he won the European title and Diamond Race Trophy.

Helsinki 400m champion Pavel Maslák, who also won European Rising Star honours this year, was fourth, with pole vaulter Jiřina Ptáčníková, another European champion, finishing fifth.

Železný, who also coaches Veselý, was named Coach of the Year for the second time, with 112 out of a possible 152 votes. As an athlete, Železný won the annual honours six titles - seven if counting former Czechoslovakia.

Anežka Drahotová, who finished sixth in the 10,000m Race Walk at the World Junior Championships, was named Junior Athlete of the Year. Veselý finished ahead of rising combined events star Adam Sebastian Helcelet in the Breakthrough category.

Michal Procházka for the IAAF

Results of the Czech “Athlete of the Year 2012” (132 votes):

Athlete of the year (top ten):

1. Barbora Špotáková            1518 pts

2. Zuzana Hejnová                  1306

3. Vítězslav Veselý                  1217

4. Pavel Maslák                    958

5. Jiřina Ptáčníková               939

6. Denisa Rosolová                784

7. Jakub Holuša                    410

8. Lukáš Melich                     406

9. Jan Kudlička                     326

10. Women’s 4x400m Relay team   252

        (Bartoničková, Bergrová, Hejnová, Rosolová)

Coach:

1. Jan Železný              112 votes

2. Martina Blažková      32

Junior:

1. Anežka Drahotová  128 votes

2. Marek Bakalár         13

Breakthrough:

1. Vítězslav Veselý      38 votes

2. Adam Sebastian Helcelet 34

3. Lukáš Melich            17