Flashback: A night to remember in Baku

Flashback: A night to remember in Baku
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Mariya Kuchina, Renaud Lavillenie, Dafne Schippers and Adam Gemili holding their Golden Tracks trophies at the awards ceremony organised in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 11 October 2014.

As voting comes to an end today for the European Athletics Golden Tracks, we look back to last year’s awards ceremony in Baku which celebrated the 2014 winners.

French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie was named European male Athlete of the Year and Dutch heptathlete-turned-sprinter Dafne Schippers was crowned European female Athlete of the Year.

Great Britain’s Adam Gemili and Russia’s Mariya Kuchina won European Athletics' Rising Star awards.

All four athletes took to the stage to receive their trophies in a glittering ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel in the iconic Flame Towers, an event which was streamed live across the world.

Lavillenie won the award after an amazing 2014 where, in Zurich, he had triumphed at the European Athletics Championships for the third time in a row, having broken Sergey Bubka’s world indoor record earlier in the year with his sensational 6.16m.

Bubka was a guest in the audience as Lavillenie received his trophy.

"This year is something I cannot forget. It was like a dream for many years (to break the world record) and nobody was expected to do it," said the Frenchman.

"This winter was crazy for me and after that, my main motivation was to stay at the top and Zurich was very important."

In 2014, it was the beginning of the transformation of Schippers, who had been more renowned for the multi-events.

But she then switched from the heptathlon to concentrate on the 100m and 200m after brilliant performances during the summer and it led to her winning both titles at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, taking the 100m in 11.12 and the 200m in 22.03.

"It was a special feeling (to win) the 100m and 200m. I started with the heptathlon in Götzis and it was nice to win both the 100m and 200m at the European Championships," she said.

She was asked by master of ceremonies, Andy Kay, what her plans will be in 2015, and whether it will be the sprints or the heptathlon. Schippers said: "Now I say both. I hope to be in Götzis next year and then after that I will have to choose like this year."

Schippers decided to stay with the sprints and is one of the leading contenders for this year’s award after winning 200m gold and 100m silver at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

Bubka and Sebastian Coe, now the new IAAF president, presented the Rising Star awards.

Gemili’s triumph came after he had won the European 200m title in 19.98 into a headwind. He also anchored the British 4x100m relay team to victory.

He said: "People now see me more as a 200m runner but I am trying to keep to both the 100m and 200m."

High jumper Kuchina, the European silver medallist, shared world indoor gold and also won the Diamond Race in 2014.

Bubka, who handed the award to Kuchina, said: "We have a lot of great young talent and athletics is a popular sport and youngsters enjoy it. We have a fantastic and bright future with our young generation."

How true that was as this year Kuchina won both the European indoor and world title.

There’s still some time to vote for this year’s awards through our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Click here to see the full list of nominees for the Golden Tracks 2015.


Men’s 2014 European Athlete of the Year

1. Renaud Lavillenie (FRA)

2. Bogdan Bondarenko (UKR)

3. Mo Farah (GBR)

Women’s 2014 European Athlete of the Year

1. Dafne Schippers (NED)

2. Anita Wlodarczyk (POL)

3. Ruth Beitia (ESP)

Men's 2014 Rising Star

1. Adam Gemili (GBR)

2. Konrad Bukowiecki (POL)

3. Wilhem Belocian (FRA)

Women's 2014 Rising Star

1. Mariya Kuchina (RUS)

2. Angelica Moser (SUI)

3. Anezka Drahotova (CZE)