Van Alphen and Hellebaut named Belgian athletes of the year | 02.12.2012
|Former Olympic high jump champion Tia Hellebaut.
Van Alphen, 30, has been named as Belgium's athlete of the year in their Golden Spike awards with high-jumper Tia Hellebaut winning the women's title.
It is equally an outstanding achievement for Wim Vandeven who coaches them both.
Van Alphen followed his fine win in Austria by finishing fourth at the Olympic Games in London, missing out on a medal by just 76 points.
At the Olympics, as American Ashton Eaton won with 8869 points, Van Alphen was fourth with 8447 with Cuban Leonel Suarez third with 8523.
But it was in Gotzis where the Belgian really shone.
It was a fantastic performance from an athlete who had never before made the top 10 there.
He triumphed in a personal best of 8519 points, a victory almost as close as you can achieve because he won by 13 from leaving Eelco Sintnicolaas, of the Netherlands with German Pascal Behrenbruch third with 8433.
Van Alphen was outstanding with individual PBs in the 100m, of 10.96, long jump, of 7.62m, high jump, of 2.06m and pole vault with 4.96m.
Hellebaut won the Golden Spike title for a third time in a career where she has remained at the top after a period out of competition to have her second child.
The Belgian had retired in 2008 having won the Olympic title in Beijing. In February 2011 she gave birth to her second daughter Saartje and announced she was ready for London 2012 and the defence of her Olympic crown.
At 34, it was a Games to remember for Hellebaut - as much for honour as performance.
At the opening ceremony, she carried her country's flag and then after making the final, finished fifth.
Hellebaut cleared a season's best of 1.97m and though it was not enough for the podium as Anna Chicherova won gold with 2.05m, it was another fine achievement.
And now the year has ended on a high for Hellebaut who has proved to be one of the most consistent athletes on the world scene.