Angelica Bengtsson voted women’s 2012 European Athletics Rising Star
Swedish pole vault prodigy Angelica Bengtsson is the 2012 winner of the women's European Athletics Rising Star award.
Bengtsson becomes the first Swedish athlete of either gender to be voted as a European Athletics Rising Star and it is an honour that is fully deserved.
After winning at the 2009 World Youth Championships, Bengtsson has since dominated her event in the junior ranks and won every title on offer.
The following year, she won at the 2010 World Junior Championships while still just 17 and then triumphed at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore later that summer.
In 2011, she focused her attention on a continental title and got the gold medal at the European Athletics Junior Championships in Tallinn, clearing what was then a world outdoor junior best of 4.57m.
This summer, she travelled to Barcelona to defend her World Junior Championships title and did so in style with a clearance at 4.50m before just failing at 4.60m, bringing the curtain down on her junior career by finishing 20 centimetres better than anyone else in the Catalan city.
In addition to her undoubted ability to rise to the occasion at major championships, demonstrated by her impressive collection of gold medals, she has also scaled the heights when the pressure is off.
Her absolute world junior record of 4.63m was achieved under cover in February 2011 in front of her family and friends in Stockholm and this summer she added a centimetre to her world junior outdoor best when she scaled a Swedish senior record 4.58m at another Swedish venue in Sollentuna.
Bengtsson has also started to make her presence felt among the seniors this summer, competing in several Diamond League meetings, the 2012 Olympic Games and she also made the final at the 2012 European Athletics Championships in Helsinki.
“In the last two years (2010 and 2011) I had a hard time competing against the seniors, mainly because they are experienced and I'm not. Now, I think I've started to made my way in senior competitions,” she added recently.
Bengtsson won at the famous annual Finnkampen - Sweden v Finland - meeting in September in the stadium that hosted the 2006 European Athletics Championships to start to cement her place in the hearts of Swedish athletics supporters.
Bengtsson will be presented with her European Athletics Rising Star award at the European Athletics Awards Night in St Julians, Malta, on Saturday 13 October alongside the men's Rising Star winner and the European Athlete of the Year winners, to be announced in the coming days.
Fans, media and European Athletics Member Federations were invited to vote for the European Athletics Rising Star on the European Athletics website. Along with the votes from a panel of experts, each group of voters' results counted for one quarter of the athlete's final score.
The shortlist for the award included stars from this year's Olympic Games in London, Helsinki 2012 European Athletics Championships, Istanbul 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships, and other young athletes who performed exceptionally well this year.
No athlete who has previously served a two-year doping ban can be nominated for the European Athletics Rising Star award.
Women's 2012 European Athletics Rising Star final rankings:
Angelica Bengtsson (SWE)
Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GBR)
Moa Hjelmer (SWE)
Yelena Lashmanova (RUS)
Ana Peleteiro (ESP)
Alessia Trost (ITA)
Bulut Gamze (TUR)
Alexandra Tavernier (FRA)
Shanice Craft (GER)
Emelia Gorecka (GBR)
Sofi Flinck (SWE)
Anna Ruh (GER)
Previous women's Rising Star winners:
2011 Jodie Williams (GBR)
2010 Sandra Perkovic (CRO)
2009 Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal (NOR)
2008 Stephanie Twell (GBR)
2007 Jessica Ennis (GBR)
2012 season: Angelica Bengtsson
photo Getty Images