Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Mesud Pezer and Romania’s Bianca Razor were named male and female Balkan Athletes of the Year at the Balkan Athletics Gala in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria.
The accolades were awarded based on results achieved at Balkan events. Pezer won the shot put title at the Balkan Championships in Novi Pazar, Serbia in July with 20.11m as well as a silver medal at the Balkan Indoor Championships in Belgrade in February.
The former European U20 champion, who is now 23, has started to fulfil the vast promise he demonstrated as a junior. He set seven lifetime bests in 2017 and improved the national record to 21.40m. He also won the European Throwing Cup in Las Palmas, Spain in March with 20.69m and reached the final at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade.
Pezer was presented with his trophy by Dobromir Karamarinov, First Vice President of European Athletics and the President of Balkan Athletics.
Happy to award Mesud Pezer once again. After being Balkan Rising Star in 2013, he is now Balkan Athlete of the Year 2017. Congratulations! pic.twitter.com/xy5jB0k2F0
— Dobromir Karamarinov (@DobriBulgaria) October 27, 2017
Razor was another standout youngster with European U20 and U23 400m titles to her name and the Romanian was one of the stars of the Balkan Championships in July, winning gold medals in the 400m and 4x400m as well as silver in the 200m. She also reached the semifinals of the 400m at the World Championships in London and finished her season with a brace of medals at the World University Games in Taipei.
The Rising Star awards went to Romania’s Dorin Rusu and Bulgaria’s Liliana Georgieva.
Rusu won the Balkan U20 5000m title on home soil in Pitesti ahead of winning gold over 10,000m at the European Athletics U20 Championships in Grosseto while Georgieva claimed a middle distance double in Pitesti before winning silver over 1500m in Grosseto in a national U20 record of 4:16.73.