Ekaterini Stefanidi and Johannes Vetter, winners of the 2017 European Athlete of the Year awards (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Vilnius, Lithuania

Vetter and Stefanidi crowned European Athletes of the Year

World javelin champion Johannes Vetter from Germany and world pole vault champion Ekaterini Stefanidi from Greece were named 2017 European Athletes of the Year at the Golden Tracks award ceremony in Vilnius, Lithuania on Saturday (14) evening.

At a star-studded gala, world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm from Norway and world high jump silver medallist Yuliya Levchenko from Ukraine were also crowned male and female Rising Stars.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe and European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen were among the guests at the awards ceremony.

In a year in which they were both crowned world champions, Vetter and Stefanidi also created their own piece of history in Vilnius. Vetter is the first German to be crowned male European Athlete of the Year while Stefanidi is the first Greek athlete – male or female – to lift the accolade.

Vetter, 24, soared to second on the world all-time javelin list with 94.44m in Lucerne before winning gold at the IAAF World Championships in London. World 200m champion Ramil Guliyev from Turkey and world decathlon champion Kevin Mayer from France were the two other athletes shortlisted for the men’s award.

European and Olympic champion Stefanidi, 27, asserted herself as the dominant force in pole vaulting again by winning the world title in London with a world-leading 4.91m, having also won gold at the European Indoor Championships earlier in the year. She was unbeaten outdoors in 2017 and ended the summer by winning the IAAF Diamond League title in Brussels.

She finished ahead of the shortlisted world high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene, world heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam from Belgium and world hammer champion Anita Wlodarczyk from Poland.

Legendary discus thrower and two-time Olympic champion Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania was presented with the Special Lifetime Award.

European Athletics for the IAAF