Male Rising Star 2016 nominees

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European Athletics

There are 12 nominees in the male Rising Star category after a sensational year for Europe’s men.

Voting for the Golden Track awards ends on Wednesday 5 October at noon CET and visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for your chance to vote.

Four days before his 20th birthday, Max Hess became a European champion in Amsterdam in July.

The German won triple jump gold with a second round leap of 17.20m and amazingly it was his only registered mark in the final - he had two fouls and three passes - and his triumph came in both a personal best and the European leading-mark of 2016.

It has been quite a year for Hess because four months before his glory in the Netherlands, he made the podium at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland when he won silver.

Germany have three men in the running for this Rising Star award.

Decathlete Niklas Kaul, 18, the 2015 world youth champion, had two days to remember at the World Under-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz when he broke the world junior record with the under-20 implements as he scored 8162 points.

Beating the old mark by 27 points, Kaul showed brilliant form throughout the competition by setting personal bests in six of the 10 disciplines - 400m, 1500m, high jump, pole vault, long jump and javelin, the latter seeing him throw 71.59m.

Competing individually in the javelin, Kaul’s teammate Julian Weber is progressing to be one of the best in the world.

Now 22, he began the year with a personal best of 81.15m and ended it as the top under-23 thrower of 2016 after his 88.29m in Berlin at the start of last month. It was the eight time he had broken his personal best in a summer where he he finished ninth in the final at the Olympic Games in Rio.

A year after winning the hammer at the European Athletics Junior Championships in Eskilstuna, Hungary’s Bence Halasz, 19, celebrated gold again at the world under-20 championships.

And he showed true championship quality to achieve it - peaking at just the right moment as he delivered a brilliant third-round throw of 80.93m to deny Ukraine’s Hlib Piskunov, who had led with a personal best of 79.58m.

It had been 52 years since Ken Matthews was the last Briton to win a major global walking title with Olympic 20km gold in Tokyo but Callum Wilkinson, 19, has now bridged that gap.

In a world-leading time of 40:41.62, Wilkinson powered to glory in the 10,000m race walk at the world under-20 championships to underline his brilliant ability in a year where he also won big races on the road in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and broke personal walking bests outdoor in the 10km and indoors over 3000m and 5000m.

Tbilisi was the setting for the first European Athletics Youth Championships in July and how sweet it proved to be for 16-year-old Greek pole-vaulting star Emmanouil Karalis.

Gold came as he cleared the bar with 5.45m to put the seal on an amazing 2016 of world under-18 records.

In March, in Jablonec nad Nisou, Karalis broke the indoor mark with 5.54m and in the build-up to Tbilisi, his 5.55m in Ostrava eclipsed the outdoor mark of 5.51m that had stood for 12 years.

At 17, it was some year for Ukrainian hammer thrower Myhaylo Havrylyuk, who won European Athletics Youth gold with a superb 82.26m, a national youth record with the 5kg implement.

He was the only athlete to break the 80m barrier in 2016 and had the top three throws in the world, with 79.73m and 79.50m his other leading marks.

With 100m left of his Olympic 400m semi-final, Britain’s Matthew Hudson-Smith was in seventh spot.

But then the 21-year-old came soaring through to snatch second in 44.48 to reach the final (where he was eighth) but this semi sent the statistics wild. He broke his personal best by four-tenths of a second, it was the quickest time by a European under-23 for 24 years and it was the fastest a senior European had run since 2012.

A few weeks earlier he made the podium at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam, running the anchor leg as Britain won 4x400m relay bronze.

Round two in Tbilisi was the decisive moment in the men’s discus (1.5kg) at the European Athletics Youth Championships as Georgios Koniarakis, 17, reached 62.16m to seal gold in a brilliant year for him.

The Cypriot had always been the man to beat, having entered the competition on the back of a winter where he had thrown 63.96m in Lemesos, a distance which remained the best in the world in 2016 for an under-18.

Talking about world-leading marks and that is just what Greece’s Odissefs Mouzenidis achieved as he, too, triumphed in Tbilisi.

Unlike Koniarakis, Mouzenidis, 17, had to wait until the fifth round of the shot put (5kg) to become European Youth champion, moving from third position with a personal best of 21.51m. No one improved upon that mark in the year as he was unbeaten in 13 competitions.

Italy’s Filippo Tortu will look back on 2016 with pride after ending the outdoor season with a world junior medal and the honour of being Europe’s fastest 100m junior.

His time came on the senior stage, when he was third in the second semi-final at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam, in a national junior record of 10.19.

Two weeks later in Bydgoszcz, Tortu’s 10.24 brought silver at the world under-20 championships and for an athlete who is still only 18, he will be the home favourite for gold at next year’s European Athletics Under-20 Championships in Grosseto.

Specialising in the 400m hurdles, Karsten Warholm, of Norway, made a real impression at the Olympics in Rio.

At 20, and with a multi-events background, Warholm won his opening round race in 48.49, a national record and the best time in the world by an under-23. It is a brilliant platform for the future for an athlete who a year earlier won silver in both the 400m and decathlon at the European Athletics Junior Championships and in 2013, was the world youth octathlon champion.