European discus champion Andrius Gudzius was crowned Lithuanian Athlete of the Year for the fifth time on the men’s side at the annual Lithuanian Athletics Gala in Vilnius on Sunday (25).
Gudzius added the European title to his world title in Berlin, supplanting Sweden’s Daniel Stahl in the sixth round with 68.46m. He also ended the season third on the 2018 world lists with a lifetime best of 69.59m behind Stahl (69.72m) and Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres (69.67m).
“It was super nice to get this reward for the first time but now I get used to it. During the year I just want superb season to achieve the best Lithuanian Award prize once more,” he said.
Gudzius topped the poll ahead of European 1500m finalist and national record-holder Simas Bertasius and ultra marathon-runner Aleksandras Sorokinas.
There was a first-time winner on the women’s side as surprise European javelin bronze medallist Liveta Jasiunaite topped the voting ahead of European 400m finalist Agne Serksniene and European high jump fourth-placer Airine Palsyte.
“It is a big honour to be elected the best female Lithuanian Athlete of the Year. Every sportsperson dreams is to be the best in his event and now my dream has comes true,” said Jasiunaite, who equalled her lifetime best of 61.61m in qualifying before reaching out to 61.59m in the final.
World U20 high jump sixth-placer Urte Baikstyte was crowned Rising Star of the Year while there was also an official farewell ceremony for European medallists Lina Grincikaite-Samuole and Raivydas Stanys who have both officially retired.
Grincikaite-Samuole reached the 100m semifinals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, won gold at the European U23 Championships in 2009 and bronze at the 2012 European Championships in Helsinki and Stanys won silver in the high jump at the same championships.