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General News London, England

Farah, Lyne named British Athletes of the Year

Two of the UK's emerging stars were named as British Athletes of the Year for 2006 in London on Saturday (14).

European Championship medallists Mo Farah and Becky Lyne were rewarded for their breakthrough seasons at the British Athletics Writers Association's annual awards dinner at the Royal Lancaster Hotel.

Farah was named as male athlete of the year for winning the European Championships 5,000m silver medal in Gothenburg and reducing his personal best over the distance by 20 seconds to become the second fastest Briton ever behind Dave Moorcroft.

The 23-year-old was presented with his trophy by London Marathon race director Dave Bedford, the former world 10,000m record holder, who welcomed the emergence of a British distance runner of genuine international class. "It's good to see not only such a fast runner but a great character," said Bedford.

Lyne also emerged onto the international scene in 2006 with some world class performances. The 24-year-old became the third fastest Briton ever over 800m when she ran 1:58.20 at the British Grand Prix in Gateshead and won a bronze medal at the European Championships in Gothenburg.

Lyne was presented with her trophy by double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes who described her performances during the year as "outstanding".

Sprinter Harry Aikines-Aryeetey was named as the British male junior athlete of the year for the second year in a row after winning the 100m at the World Junior Championships in Beijing.

Distance runner Sian Edwards won the women's junior award after finishing 10th at the World Junior Cross Country Championships and sixth in the 5000m in Beijing.

The Ron Pickering Memorial Prize for services to British athletics was presented to Dave Moorcroft, the retiring chief executive of UK Athletics and former 5000m World record holder. Moorcroft took over at the helm of British athletics in 1997 when the national federation was wrestling with bankruptcy.

Ron's son Sean, who presented the award, said Moorcroft had "answered the calling of the sport at its time of greatest need."

The Norwich Union award for best performance in a British vest was given to wheelchair athlete Dave Weir, who won three gold medals at the IPC World Championships in the 100m, 400m and 1500m.

Matthew Brown for the IAAF