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Mo Farah

17 October 2011

World 5000m Champion Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar) and double European Junior sprints Champion Jodie Williams (coach: Mike McFarlane) were awarded the 2011 European Athlete of the Year and European Athletics Rising Star Awards respectively at Saturday's European Athletics Awards night, incorporated within the three-day annual European Athletics Convention.

Portland-based Farah, also World silver medallist over 10,000m, could not attend the Awards Night due to his training commitments in the US but IAAF Vice President and London 2012 Chairman Seb Coe received the award on his behalf.  

The 28-year-old Londoner, who clocked a European record over 10,000m this summer, is the first male long distance runner to win this poll since it started in 1993.

“I am delighted to be selected as European Athlete of the Year for 2011. I would like to thank European Athletics and everyone who voted for me. It’s a pity that I could not be there tonight,” said Farah through a video message that was played during the Gala.

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get to this stage of my career, in particular my coach Alberto Salazar, my family and my management team. I will continue working hard and aim to stay on top in 2012 and beyond,” he added.

Junior sprint prodigy Williams, who made a successful step up to senior level with an impressive fourth place finish at the European Indoor Championships earlier this year, was rewarded in particular for her exploits in the Estonian capital Tallinn during the European Junior Championships in July.

“When my dad told me that I had won this prestigious award, I just could not believe it. I still can’t believe it. Thank you European Athletics, thank you everyone who voted for me. I am absolutely delighted about this,” said Williams.

“It’s been an absolute honour. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me on the way, my mum, dad, my coach Mike (McFarlane), training mates and everyone else,” she added.

Russia’s World 800m Champion Mariya Savinova took the women’s Athlete of the Year Award while Germany’s sensational David Storl - World shot putt Champion in Daegu following his European Under-23 Championships gold - was awarded the men’s Rising Star Award.

Check out video highlights from the Awards Night through the following link.