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Femke Bol and Jakob Ingebrigsten named the European Athletes of the Year

In a celebrated event held in Vilnius, Lithuania, both Femke Bol from the Netherlands and Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen took honors as they bagged the European Athletes of the Year awards at the esteemed Golden Tracks ceremony. This marked the second year in a row that the 23-year-old athletes have won these awards. Earlier in the year, both athletes had displayed outstanding prowess in the European Athletics Indoor Championships 2023 in Istanbul by grabbing two gold medals each. In addition, both the athletes were exceptional at the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest during the summer.

Bol’s achievements in this year

Femke Bol broke a long-standing record in the indoor 400 meters, this year, clocking a remarkable 49.26 seconds. This feat surpassed the previous record, which had been held since 1982 by Czech athlete, Jarmila Kratochvilova. Following this, Bol showcased her dominance by winning the 400m race and later, as a member of the Dutch 4x400m team, she clinched another victory at the European Indoor Championships.

However, at the World Athletics Championships 2023, she faced a hurdle. While nearing the finish line in the mixed 4x400m relay, she tripped and fell due to a challenge posed by USA runner Alexis Holmes. Despite this setback, Bol came back strongly and claimed the world title in the 400m hurdles. She added another title to her already long list of accomplishments when she overtook competitors from Britain and Jamaica in the final moments of the women’s 4x400m relay, winning another gold for the Netherlands. She also attained a new European 400m hurdles record at a meet in London.

Ingebrigtsen’s achievements in this year

Meanwhile, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, one of the greatest middle-distance runners of all time, not only clinched the European titles for 1500m and 3,000m indoors in Istanbul but also set new European records in five different outdoor events. Although Ingebrigsten faced a surprising defeat in the 1500m at the World Championships, he defended his 5,000m world title in a thrilling finish. He wrapped up his season by clinching victories in both the mile and 3,000m races at the Diamond League in Eugene, setting new European records in the process. He also managed to break the world 2,000m record, set a top global time for the two-mile race, and updated his own European 1500m record.

Others who received awards

This year’s nominations for the award were competitive. Bol was up against Spain’s Maria Perez, a double world title holder in race walking, and Yaroslava Mahuchikh from Ukraine, an accomplished high jumper. Ingebrigtsen was in close contention with last year’s co-recipient, Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis, and Greece’s long jump Olympic champion, Miltiadis Tentoglou. Promising young talents, Angelina Topic of Serbia and Mattia Furlani from Italy, were honored as this year’s rising stars. Topic, just shy of turning 18, established a Serbian high jump record, while Furlani accomplished it in the long jump event.

In coaching, Estonia’s Taivo Mägi and Latvia’s Alona Fomenko were recognized for their efforts. Meanwhile, Lithuania’s Alfonsas Buliuolis was honored with the Member Federation award. Anna Kielbasinska from Poland, the President of the Athletes’ Council of the Polish Athletics Association, received the inaugural European Athletics Women’s Leadership Award. Croatia’s Dino Bosnjak earned the Fair Play Award for helping a fellow competitor, while Jolien Boumkwo received the Team Spirit Act of Recognition award for her contribution to the Belgian team, which achieved praises worldwide.