Shubenkov lands a record-breaking gold

Shubenkov lands a record-breaking gold
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Sergey Shubenkov had a near perfect year topped off by the best performance of his career when he took gold over 110m hurdles in 12.98 during the World Championships in Beijing.

Russian Sergey Shubenkov had already booked his place at the top table of European Athletics with a series of superb performances over the past few years before becoming 110m hurdles world champion in August.

Now he is in the running to become the male European Athlete of the Year, on the shortlist with Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford.

This is the story of 2015 ahead of the Golden Tracks awards which take place in Lausanne on Saturday when the European male and female Athletes of the Year and Rising Stars will be named.

They will be presented with their trophies at a televised gala evening and will be streamed live at www.european-athletics.org starting at 20:30 local time.

Athletics was always in the blood of Sergey Shubenkov, who produced the performance of his career to win gold in Beijing this summer.

The Russian 110m hurdler ensured his progress from a brilliant youngster stayed on the upward path as he triumphed at the IAAF World Championships with victory in 12.98, a national record.

And it was another glorious track and field moment for his family.

It is 31 years since his mother Natalya Shubenkova scored 6859 points for the heptathlon in Kiev, a performance which remains the 11th best of all-time.

She was one of the leading multi-eventers of the 1980s and her son is carving out a career where he is becoming one of the most consistent track athletes of his generation.

Now 25, Shubenkov was 18 when he won silver at the European Athletics Junior Championships in Novi Sad in 2009 before two years later running 13.56 to win the European under-23 crown in Ostrava.

That was just the start for a competitor who has now won a major gold every year since.

In 2012 and 2014, he was European champion, in 2013, he was European indoor champion and now he is the world champion after a run of blistering speed and economy over the barriers, to triumph in Beijing in August.

From lane seven, Shubenkov, the world bronze medallist in Moscow 2013, made his move after the fourth hurdle, edging in front, taking command and having enough of a lead to hold off Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment (13.03) on his immediate outside and America’s world record-holder Aries Merritt (13.04).

It was a brilliant run but it was such a blitz of speed that instantly Shubenkov could not even recall the race which has put him on the shortlist to be the European Athlete of the Year.

He said in the aftermath of his victory: "I do not remember anything of it. I heard the starting gun and then I opened my eyes and it was finished.

"I wondered whether it was really happening, whether I might wake up. This is the best day of my life."

He had entered 2015 with a personal best of 13.13 and along with the world championships, it was always going to be a huge year for Shubenkov because in June, Russia hosted the Super League of the European Athletics Team Championships in Cheboksary.

Having lost the title to Germany 12 months earlier, the Russian team were determined to win the event for a fourth time and triumph they did, with Shubenkov among their many heroes.

He won the 110m hurdles in what was then a season’s best of 13.22 and his victory came at a crucial time on the second day.

Team glory for Shubenkov, individual triumph two months later. His mother would be proud.