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2016 recap: european athletics golden tracks award nominees

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European Athletics last week revealed the shortlisted names for the four 'Golden Tracks' award categories, with the nominees including four GB & NI athletes. Mo Farah has been nominated in the male 'European of the Year' category, while Matthew Hudson-Smith and Callum Wilkinson are both nominees for male 'Rising Star of the Year', with Dina Asher-Smith nominated in the female 'Rising Star of the Year' field.

All four athletes have enjoyed fantastic individual seasons, and we have recapped the stand-out moments - as well as how to vote - below.

Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar)

Farah’s achievements this year are countless yet again; the pinnacle of the season undoubtedly coming as the 33-year-old stood atop the podium in Rio after winning 5,000m gold, completing a successful defence of his double Olympic gold from 2012. In doing so, he became Britain’s most successful track and field Olympian ever.

The early season and pre-Olympics signs always looked strong for the two-time double World champion; his third-fastest time ever over 10,000m came at Eugene’s Diamond League in his first outdoor race of the year, and just a week later he toppled the British record over 3000m following an inspired run at Birmingham’s Diamond League. As a consequence, Farah now holds the national records over 1500m, 3000m, 5000m and 10,000m.

After much talk of his medal hopes it wasn’t all plain sailing in Rio for Farah, with a couple of scares – including a fall in the 10,000m final – contributing to another dramatic and engrossing episode in his track journey. In spite of his tumbles, Farah ultimately showed his class once again; in both race finals he sprinted away from the numerous challengers at his heels in the fashion many have come to expect to replicate his achievements of four years ago. 

Post-Olympics Farah returned to the UK to compete at his fourth Great North Run, a race which he won for the third consecutive year to complete an unheralded hat-trick of victories by a male competitor.

Now enjoying some downtime with his family, Farah will turn his attention to the IAAF World Championships next year in London.

You can vote for Mo as male ‘European Athlete of the Year’ by re-tweeting the following tweet, or by sharing or liking his photo in the European Athletics Facebook album.


Callum Wilkinson (Mick Graham)

Wilkinson’s status as a hot prospect on the race walking circuit was elevated following a tremendous gold over 10,000m at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in July.

In crossing the line in 40:41.62 – a lifetime best, a world leading time and a British U20 record – Wilkinson became the first British race walker to hold a global title for over half a century, some feat at the age of just 19.

The British junior record over 10k also fell to Wilkinson this year, with a superb posting of 40:41.62 at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in Rome seeing the youngster finish just outside the podium places. 

Not only did the time see him leap to third in the all-time British rankings over 10k, but it also contributed to the best result by a British team at the championships since 1979.

With Wilkinson turning 20 next March, he’ll no doubt target a return to the track where he made history as Bydgoszcz plays host to 2017’s European U23 Championships, whilst May’s European Race Walk Cup in Podebrady, Czech Republic, may well be in the plans of the current World Junior champion.

You can vote for Callum as male ‘European Rising Star of the Year’ by re-tweeting the following tweet, or by sharing or liking his photo in the European Athletics Facebook album.


Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie)

Asher-Smith has enjoyed a monumental year of success on the global stage, winning her first senior accolades as both an individual and a team member.

On the back of so much success at junior level, the now 20-year-old looked destined for a big year heading into 2016, and the Blackheath & Bromley athlete hasn’t failed to deliver on her potential.

In July she swept to gold glory over 200m at the European Championships in Amsterdam - becoming the first British women to ever win gold in the discipline at the championships, whilst she also played a starring role with a fantastic run at third leg as the British team took silver in the 4x100m relay.

More was yet to come however, with a season’s best clocking of 22.31 seeing her finish fifth in the 200m Olympic final, a highly-respectable placing within a field which included the likes of Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson and the Netherland’s Dafne Schippers.

Intent on not leaving Rio empty-handed, Asher-Smith took up her place in the 4x100m final, with a superb run on the bend at third leg leaving the British team in prime position for a medal, with anchor-leg Daryll Neita duly obliging to bring home bronze for Britain.

Having now wound down her season as a European champion and Olympic medallist, Asher-Smith will hope to leave her mark on the IAAF World Championships in her hometown of London next year.

You can vote for Dina as female ‘European Rising Star of the Year’ by re-tweeting the following tweet, or by sharing or liking her photo in the European Athletics Facebook album.

 

Matthew Hudson-Smith (Tony Hadley)

Following a 2015 hampered by injury, the 21-year-old 400m specialist has kicked on to frightening effect this season, becoming British champion for the first time back in July as he edged out two-time European champion Martyn Rooney and 2015 British champion Rabah Yousif in a performance which further underlined his potential.

Prior to the Olympic Games Hudson-Smith anchored the 4x400m relay team to European bronze in Amsterdam back in July, an achievement which was followed up with a lifetime best of 44.48 in his Olympic semi-final.

Not only was the time good enough to see him make the final at his first Games, but it also saw the Birchfield Harrier become the sixth fastest British man ever over one lap, with his name firmly cemented alongside British greats such as Iwan Thomas and Roger Black.

Hudson-Smith’s presence in the Olympic final alone – a race in which the world record was smashed by Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa - was a noteworthy achievement as an Olympic debutant.

With medals up for grabs on the global stage once again in 2017, Hudson-Smith, like Asher-Smith, will hope to build on the stellar progress made this year come the start of next season.

You can vote for Matt as male ‘European Rising Star of the Year’ by re-tweeting the following tweet, or by sharing or liking his photo in the European Athletics Facebook album.

 

Voting closes at noon CET on Wednesday 5th October, with trophies to be awarded to the men’s and women’s European Athletes of the Year at a televised gala evening in Funchal, Portugal, on October 15.

For more information on the Golden Tracks awards, see: http://www.european-athletics.org/athletes/golden-tracks/news/article=vote-for-the-2016-european-athletes-the-year-and-rising-stars/