European Athletics is pleased to announce that French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie and the Ukraine’s triple jump star Olha Saladuha have been voted as the European Athletes of the Month for June.

Lavillenie, the world indoor champion, lived up to his position as favourite to retain his European pole vault title at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki. The Frenchman overcame a stiff challenge from Bjorn Otto, one of three Germans who ended up disputing the medals, which prompted Lavillenie to a clearance of 5.97m that was only four centimetres less than his 2009 personal best of 6.01. It sees him head towards the Olympics at the top of the 2012 world rankings. The 25-year-old has only faced one defeat in 13 outings this season and goes to London as favourite to take gold.

Saladuha, the defending European triple jump champion, not only retained her title in Helsinki, she did so with a personal best of 14.99m, the best distance recorded this year. That was 17cm more than she had recorded in Barcelona two years earlier, and five centimetres further than she had jumped in Daegu the previous summer to win the world title.

Both Lavillenie and Saladuha were subsequently named by the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) as the athletes of the championships for their performances in the Finnish capital.

Tukey’s Polat Kemboi Arikan, who followed up his win at the European Cup 10,000m in Bilbao on 3 June by becoming the first Turkish man to win at the European Athletics Championships when he unleashed a devastating 57.22 last lap, was voted second in the men’s poll. French sprint sensation Christophe Lemaitre successfully defended his European 100m title in Helsinki, clocking 10.04, and was voted third.

Olha Saladuha HEL thumb
Olha Saladuha of Ukraine.

Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova, who stormed to a European-leading 11.06 in her heat and then took the 100m gold medal with 11.28 in more difficult conditions at the Olympic stadium in Helsinki, was voted second in the women’s poll ahead of Turkish hurdler Nevin Yanit.

Yanit, the 2010 European Athletics Championships gold medallist, ran 12.78 in her heat and then she had two further high quality outings to defend her 100m hurdles title.

European Athletics’ monthly poll received overwhelming support from tens of thousands of athletics fans and media alike this month from all over Europe, with Turkish and Bulgarian fans and media in particular coming out in force to vote for their star athletes.

The European Athlete of the Month initiative was launched in January 2007 and is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport in Europe.

European Athletics names a male and female winner each month and features the athlete 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% 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.



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