European Athletics is pleased to announce that Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslak and Sandra Perkovic of Croatia have been voted by the fans and media as European Athletes of the Month for March.
After finishing second in last month’s vote, Maslak this time took one step up as he dominated the 400m at the IAAF Indoor World Championships in Sopot, Poland, in early March, with a blistering time of 45.24, the second fastest European indoor time ever. His performance strengthens his status as the favourite over the distance for the European Athletics Championships in Zurich this summer where he is the reigning champion from Helsinki 2012.
Second in the vote was Poland’s very own Adam Kszczot. The two-time European Athletics Indoor Championships 800m gold medallist took silver in Sopot behind Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman in what was one of the most exciting events for the crowd from the entire weekend with both Kszczot and Marcin Lewandowski trying to win gold for Poland. His position as first European confirms he is the current favourite for gold in Zurich.
Great Britain’s Richard Kilty was voted in third after his stunning performance in the 60m in Sopot, taking gold with 6.49. It was an event he was not even supposed to be competing in, only qualifying for the championships after his better-known compatriot James Dasaolu could not compete due to injury.
On the women’s side, the award went to Perkovic. The reigning world and Olympic discus champion threw a massive 70.51m at the Croatian winter throwing championships in Split, the first throw over the magical 70-metre line since 1999 and the best mark in the world for 22 years. The fact that this achievement came so early in the year means we can expect even more from her as the season progresses.
In second place was Poland’s Angelika Cichocka who set an indoor personal best of 2:00.37 when winning her 800m heat on home territory at the IAAF World Indoor Championships and then, spurred on by family and friends, came through to take an unexpected silver medal in the final with 2:00.45.
Completing the podium is French long jumper Eloyse Lesueur. The 2012 European Athletics Championships gold medallist came out on top of an exciting contest at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, just holding off British talent Katarina Johnson-Thompson, to win with 6.85m from her fourth attempt. She was France’s only gold medallist from Sopot, and hopes to confirm her consistency at the top once again this summer in Zurich.
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.