European Athletics is pleased to announce that French pole vault star Renaud Lavillenie and Ukrainian multi-eventer Nataliya Dobrynska have been voted as the European Athletes of the Month for March.
Lavillenie, the current European champion, both indoors and outdoors, won his first global crown at the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul with a world-leading clearance of 5.95m.
The 25-year-old, who is among the select athletes to have gone over the magic barrier of 6 metres both indoors and outdoors, is now gearing up to defend his European outdoor title in Helsinki this summer.
Ukraine’s 2008 Olympic Games heptathlon champion Nataliya Dobrynska became the first woman to breech the 5000 points barrier in the pentathlon with a world record 5013 points at the World Indoor Championships.
Germany’s David Storl, the 2011 World Championships gold medallist and European Athletics Rising Star of the Year, won the silver medal in Istanbul with a lifetime best of 21.88m and was voted second.
Poland’s Henryk Szost, who ran a Polish national record of 2:07:39 when he finished second at the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan on 4 March, overcame a stiff challenge from the Czech Republic’s Jakub Holusa to claim the third spot. The 24-year-old Holusa exceeded expectations by being the first European home over four laps of the track when he got a silver medal in Istanbul.
In the women’s poll, Russian pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva comfortably won her fourth gold medal at the World Indoor Championships with a leap of 4.80m, and was voted second after the Ukrainian multi-events star.
German discus thrower Nadine Müller finished third. The 2011 World Championships silver medallist twice improved her personal best and finished with 68.89m when winning at the European Cup Winter Throwing in Bar, the longest throw in the world for almost eight years.
European Athletics’ monthly poll received overwhelming support from thousands of athletics fans and media alike this month from across the continent.
The European Athlete of the Month initiative was launched in January 2007 and is designed to recognise outstanding performers at all levels of the sport in Europe. A male and female winner each month is named and featured on the European Athletics website.
Selections are based on votes by the public, media and a panel of European Athletics experts – each counting for 33.3 percent of the final vote. No athlete who has previously served a two-year doping ban can be nominated for or win the European Athlete of the Month award.