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Athletics - 18. November 2014.

Beitia tops the Spanish poll

The decision by high jumper Ruth Beitia to end her brief 'retirement' from athletics in 2012 is once more reaping the rewards.

After a summer where she produced one of the most emotional performances at the European Athletics Championships as she won gold, the Spaniard has been honoured for her supreme glory.

Beitia has won the XXIII Trophy Josť Luis Alonso as Spain's Athlete of the Year after a vote among people from all levels of the sport in the country.

The top five were all from the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, with Beitia collecting 1399 points, 153 more than Miguel Angel Lopez, the 20km walk gold medallist, with shot put silver medallist Borja Vivas in third on 1218. Next with 1068 was Diana Martin, the 3000m steeplechase bronze medallist, four points ahead of Eusebio Caceres, who was fourth in the long jump.

Beitia will receive her trophy in Madrid on 9 December and the success is another landmark in a career where she just thrives on the buzz of competing - and delivers with such consistency at the major events.

Not only did she triumph in Zurich, she did so in style with a winning jump of 2.01m which ended the year as the joint-best in the world alongside Russia's Anna Chicherova.

And the picture of her face celebrating her triumph was one of the snap-shots of the championships at the Letzigrund Stadium.

It meant Beitia retained her title from Helsinki and in March, a few weeks before she turns 36, she is likely to be chasing a successful defence of another crown at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague.

After the Olympics in London, where she finished fourth, Beitia took a brief break from the sport but since choosing to return she has won bronze medals indoors and out at the world championships before her Zurich success which has now gained extra resonance with this award.

And it might be just the start, too.

When the Spanish Federation announce their athletes of the year, Beitia will among the favourites for that title aswell.

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