Slovenian Hammer Throw record holder Primoz Kozmus (Bob Ramsak) © Copyright
General News Ljubljana, Slovenia

Kozmus named Slovenia's athlete of the year

Primoz Kozmus, the World Championships silver medallist in the Hammer Throw, was named Slovenia's Athlete of the Year for 2007 at a ceremony in Ljubljana on Saturday.

In Osaka, the 28-year-old national record holder led until two-time defending champion Ivan Tsikhan of Belarus pulled out a victory in the final round. Kozmus nonetheless won the first-ever World Championships silver medal for Slovenia. Kozmus, who extended his own national record to 82.30 in June in Bydgoszcz, also took the nation's top honour in 2003 and 2004.

Finishing second in the balloting was sprinter Matic Osovnikar, who reached the Osaka 100m final and finished seventh after lowering his own national record to 10.13 in the semi-finals. Osovnikar, 27, followed up his 2006 100m European bronze with a fourth place showing at 60m at the European Indoor Championships in March. Finishing third was another Osaka finalist, Miran Vodovnik, who finished sixth in the Shot Put.

800m veteran Brigita Langerholc was named the female athlete of the year for the fourth time, thanks to her fifth place showing in Osaka. The 31-year-old clocked 1:58.41 in the semi-finals to better her previous career best that was set when finishing fourth at the 2000 Olympics.

In a close vote, triple jumper Marija Sestak, who was also fifth at the World Championships, was second. In June, the 28-year-old leaped a 14.92 national record in Ljubljana, the fourth farthest effort in the world this year. Sonja Roman, an Osaka 1500m semi-finalist, was third in the voting.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF