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Russia’s Savinova voted 2011 European Athlete of the Year
Mariya Savinova of Russia has been voted the 2011 winner of the women's European Athlete of the Year Award presented by MONDO.
The 26-year-old has become the fourth Russian woman - after her compatriots Irina Privalova, Svetlana Masterkova and Yelena Isinbayeva - to be honoured as the European Athletics Athlete of the Year.
The highlight of Savinova's splendid year, in which she only lost one of her 10 outings over 800m, was without doubt her victory at the World Championships in Daegu this summer.
She grabbed the gold medal over two laps of the track in a stunning time of 1:55.87.
Not only did it smash her personal best by more than a second, it was also the fastest time by a European runner for almost nine years.
Other big wins in 2011 included victories at the SPAR European Team Championships in Stockholm, where she helped Russia retain its place as Europe's top athletics nation, and the Diamond League final in Zurich.
Savinova will be presented with her award at the European Athletics Awards Night presented by MONDO in Arona, Spain, on Saturday 15 October alongside the men's winner of the European Athlete of the Year award, to be announced on Wednesday.
The European Athletics Rising Star of the Year winners, David Storl of Germany and Great Britain and NI’s Jodie Williams, will also be present to pick up their awards.
Fans, media and European Athletics Member Federations were invited to vote for the European Athlete of the Year on the European Athletics website. Along with the votes from a panel of experts, each group of voters' results count for one quarter of the athlete's final score.
The shortlist for the award was compiled by selecting the top European athlete in different events, based largely on performances at the IAAF World Championships, European Athletics Indoor Championships, European Athletics events and the series of Diamond League and European Athletics meetings. Only in very exceptional cases were two athletes from one event nominated.
No athlete who has previously served a two-year doping ban can be nominated for European Athlete of the Year.
Women's European Athlete of the Year presented by MONDO final rankings:
1. Mariya Savinova (RUS)
2. Maria Abakumova (RUS)
3. Anna Chicherova (RUS)
4. Tatyana Chernova (RUS)
5. Betty Heidler (GER)
6. Yuliya Zaripova (RUS)
7. Martina Strutz (GER)
8. Olha Saladuha (UKR)
9. Olga Kaniskina (RUS)
10. Tiffany Porter (GBR)
11. Vera Sokolova (RUS)
European Athlete of the Year previous winners
1993 Sally Gunnell GBR
1994 Irina Privalova RUS
1995 Sonia O'Sullivan IRL
1996 Svetlana Masterkova RUS
1997 Astrid Kumbernuss GER
1998 Christine Arron FRA
1999 Gabriela Szabo ROU
2000 Trine Hattestad NOR
2001 Stephanie Graf AUT
2002 Süreyya Ayhan TUR
2003 Carolina Klüft SWE
2004 Kelly Holmes GBR
2005 Yelena Isinbayeva RUS
2006 Carolina Klüft SWE
2007 Blanka Vlasic CRO
2008 Yelena Isinbayeva RUS
2009 Marta Dominguez ESP
2010 Blanka Vlasic CRO