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three british athletes finalists for a golden tracks award

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Tomorrow evening (Sat 15 Oct) European Athletics will announce the winners of its annual Golden Tracks awards at an awards ceremony in Funchal, Portugal, with three British athletes in contention for an award following the initial shortlists being narrowed down.

The winning athletes are decided by counting votes from the fans, media, European Athletics Member Federations as well as an expert European Athletics panel, with the results from each group of voters counting for one quarter of the athlete's final score.

On the same evening of the Golden Tracks, European Athletics will also recognise the winners of the Coaching and Innovation Awards.


Here’s a reminder of our British award finalists and their achievements this year:

Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar) – Shortlisted for Male Athlete of the Year

Farah’s achievements this year are countless yet again; the pinnacle of the season undoubtedly coming as the 33-year-old stood atop the podium in Rio after winning 5,000m gold, completing a successful defence of his double Olympic gold from 2012. In doing so, he became Britain’s most successful track and field Olympian ever.

The early season and pre-Olympics signs always looked strong for the two-time double World champion; his third-fastest time ever over 10,000m came at Eugene’s Diamond League in his first outdoor race of the year, and just a week later he toppled the British record over 3000m following an inspired run at Birmingham’s Diamond League. As a consequence, Farah now holds the national records over 1500m, 3000m, 5000m and 10,000m.

After much talk of his medal hopes it wasn’t all plain sailing in Rio for Farah, with a couple of scares – including a fall in the 10,000m final – contributing to another dramatic and engrossing episode in his track journey. In spite of his tumbles, Farah ultimately showed his class once again; in both race finals he sprinted away from the numerous challengers at his heels in the fashion many have come to expect to replicate his achievements of four years ago. 

Post-Olympics Farah returned to the UK to compete at his fourth Great North Run, a race which he won for the third consecutive year to complete an unheralded hat-trick of victories by a male competitor.

Now enjoying some downtime with his family, Farah will turn his attention to the IAAF World Championships next year in London.

 

Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) – Shortlisted for Female ‘Rising Star of the Year’

Asher-Smith has enjoyed a monumental year of success on the global stage, winning her first senior accolades as both an individual and a team member.

On the back of so much success at junior level, the now 20-year-old looked destined for a big year heading into 2016, and the Blackheath & Bromley athlete hasn’t failed to deliver on her potential.

In July she swept to gold glory over 200m at the European Championships in Amsterdam - becoming the first British women to ever win gold in the discipline at the championships, whilst she also played a starring role with a fantastic run at third leg as the British team took silver in the 4x100m relay.

More was yet to come however, with a season’s best clocking of 22.31 seeing her finish fifth in the 200m Olympic final, a highly-respectable placing within a field which included the likes of Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson and the Netherland’s Dafne Schippers.

Intent on not leaving Rio empty-handed, Asher-Smith took up her place in the 4x100m final, with a superb run on the bend at third leg leaving the British team in prime position for a medal, with anchor-leg Daryll Neita duly obliging to bring home bronze for Britain.

Having now wound down her season as a European champion and Olympic medallist, Asher-Smith will hope to leave her mark on the IAAF World Championships in her hometown of London next year.

 

Matthew Hudson-Smith (Tony Hadley) – Shortlisted for Male ‘Rising Star of the Year’

Following a 2015 hampered by injury, the 21-year-old 400m specialist has kicked on to frightening effect this season, becoming British champion for the first time back in July as he edged out two-time European champion Martyn Rooney and 2015 British champion Rabah Yousif in a performance which further underlined his potential.

Prior to the Olympic Games Hudson-Smith anchored the 4x400m relay team to European bronze in Amsterdam back in July, an achievement which was followed up with a lifetime best of 44.48 in his Olympic semi-final.

Not only was the time good enough to see him make the final at his first Games, but it also saw the Birchfield Harrier become the sixth fastest British man ever over one lap, with his name firmly cemented alongside British greats such as Iwan Thomas and Roger Black.

Hudson-Smith’s presence in the Olympic final alone – a race in which the world record was smashed by Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa - was a noteworthy achievement as an Olympic debutant.

With medals up for grabs on the global stage once again in 2017, Hudson-Smith, like Asher-Smith, will hope to build on the stellar progress made this year come the start of next season.