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General News Dudince, Slovakia

Toth selected Slovak athlete of the year

Matej Toth, who finished sixth in the 20km Race Walk at August's European Championships, was named Slovak Athlete of the Year at a ceremony on Saturday (25).

Toth is only the second race walker in Slovak history to win the annual honour. Walker Igor Kollar previously received the award in 1993 and 1999. Toth tallied 231 points in a vote of coaches, officials and journalists.

Second place honours went to 800m runner Lucia Klocova, who achieved her fourth semifinal at amajor championships since Paris 2003, and missed the finals in Gothenuorg by only .04 seconds. Third was again a race walker, Peter Korcok, who was eighth in the 50 km event in August in Sweden. It was also appropriate that the awards evening was held in Dudince, a special walking place known by the annual meeting and which also twice hosted the European Cup.

"It is only a vote, but a good feeling to be the winner," said Toth. "I must admit that was best year of my career so far. I am also seeing the names who won in the past, so that is a good group of quality athletes and to belong to them is something special." This year Toth also finished his journalism studies.

Alfons Juck for the IAAF