European Athletics is pleased to announce that the Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko and Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic have been voted by the fans and media as European Athletes of the Month for June.
Bondarenko, the reigning world high jump champion and 2013 European Athlete of the Year, equalled the European record held by Sweden’s Patrick Sjöberg and Russia’s Ivan Ukhov, by going over 2.42m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in New York on 14 June. This represents a great first step for the Ukrainian in his quest to break Cuban Javier Sotomayor’s world record of 2.45m and claim gold at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich this summer.
Hungary’s Krisztian Pars was second, the 2012 London Olympic Games hammer throw champion winning all five of his competitions in June, including a victory in the Czech town of Ostrava on 16 June where he threw a world-leading distance of 81.57m. He also became the only athlete to win all five editions of the European Athletics Team Championships by taking first place for Hungary at the First League in Tallinn, Estonia, on 21 June.
Third in the vote was France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde. Despite a defeat in the 110m hurdles at the European Athletics Team Championships in Braunschweig, the Frenchman remains the quickest European and ran 13.12 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Oslo on 11 June, a world-leading mark at the time.
On the women’s side, the award went to Spotakova who enjoyed an excellent return to serious competition after maternity leave in 2013 with an unbeaten series of three wins in the javelin, throwing what was then a European-leading mark of 66.43m to win at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome on 5 June. Her main objective of the season will be to add the only title still missing to her collection at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich.
In second place was Germany’s Malaika Mihambo still only 20. The 2013 European junior long jump champion achieved a European-leading distance and personal best of 6.90m at the European Athletics Team Championships; she also jumped 6.88m in Regensburg on 7 June. Her win in Braunschweig helped secure valuable points for her team, and she will likely contend for gold in Zurich, which would be remarkable at such a young age.
In third was another French hurdler in Cindy Billaud. She sped to a season’s best of 12.66 for a championship record at the European Athletics Team Championships, the second fastest European time of the year. Her win was crucial because France made the podium for the first time and she will now head to Zurich as the supreme favourite over 110m hurdles in what is shaping out to be a breakout season for her.
The European Athlete of the Month initiative was launched in January 2007 and is designed to recognise outstanding performers at all levels of the sport in Europe.
No athlete who has previously served a two-year doping ban can be nominated for the European Athlete of the Month.