Odd years do not mean bad times for Zuzana Hejnova. After injuries affected her European Championships campaign last year, Hejnova came back to the top level and was crowned Czech Athlete of the Year for the third time.
“Many people wrote me off last year," said Hejnova. "Of course, that was not good for me. I responded to this by trying to prove that I still have good performances."
Hejnova, who previously topped the poll in 2013 and 2015, finished ahead of world javelin fifth-placer Jakub Vadlejch and European indoor shot put bronze medallist Tomas Stanek in the voting. Her coach Dana Jandova was also named Czech Coach of the Year ahead of Jan Zelezny to become only the second female coach to win this accolade in award history.
With a fifth-place finish at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Hejnova was the clear winner of the poll while her potential successor Lada Vondrova, who won silver in the 400m at the European Athletics U23 Championships and was sixth in the 400m hurdles, won the Breakthrough Award.
European U20 discus silver medallist Michal Forejt was also named Junior Athlete of the Year ahead of middle distance runner Jakub Davidik and European U20 400m bronze medallist Barbora Malikova. Forejt’s coach Lucie Plasilova was also third in the coaching category.
The top-10 athletes in the senior poll - as well as the winners of three additional categories - were present in person to collect their awards at the annual ceremony which was held at the Ambassador – Zlatá Husa Hotel in the very centre of Prague.
The annual gala was also aired live by Czech television.
Czech Athlete of the Year poll
1. Zuzana Hejnova (400m hurdles)
2. Jakub Vadlejch (javelin)
3. Tomas Stanek (shot put)
4. Barbora Spotakova (javelin)
5. Nikola Ogrodnikova (javelin)
6. Lada Vondrova (400m)
7. Filip Sasinek (1500m)
8. Anezka Drahotova (20km race walk)
9. Irena Sediva (javelin)
10. Vit Muller (400m)