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Croatia’s Vlašić voted 2010 European Athlete of the Year

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Blanka Vlašić of Croatia has been voted the 2010 winner of the women's European Athlete of the Year Award presented by MONDO.

Vlašić has become only the third women to win the top European honour for a second time. Following in the footsteps of the other two-time winners Yelena Isinbayeva and Carolina Kluft, the Croatian high jumper was voted as Europe’s top female athlete after a two year hiatus from the top spot.

The story behind her success in the polls is that this summer Vlašić filled one of the few remaining gaps in her trophy cabinet when she won at the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona.

Her triumph in Barcelona followed on from an unbeaten indoor season during which she won at the World Indoor Championships in Doha in March and also improved her indoor best, which is inevitably a Croatian record, to 2.06m. The height was not been bettered by anyone in the world in 2010.

Outdoors, she won 12 out of her 14 competitions including all seven of the IAAF Diamond League meetings at which her event was contested and at the IAAF Continental Cup, which was held in her home city of Split.

Vlašić will be presented with her award at the European Athletics Awards Night presented by MONDO on Saturday 16 October in Belgrade, Serbia. French sprinter Christophe Lemaitre, named as the men’s winner of the European Athlete of the Year award earlier this week, will also be recognised along with European Athletics Rising Star of the Year winners Teddy Tamgho and Sandra Perković.

Fans, media and European Athletics Member Federations were invited to vote for the European Athlete of the Year on the European Athletics website. Along with the votes from a panel of experts, each group of voters' results count for one quarter of the athlete's final score.

The shortlist for the award was compiled by selecting the top European athlete in each event, based largely on performances at the European Athletics Championships, World Indoor Championships, European Athletics events and the series of Diamond League and European Athletics meetings. Only in very exceptional cases were two athletes from one event nominated.

No athlete who has previously served a two-year doping ban can be nominated for European Athlete of the Year.

Women's European Athlete of the Year presented by MONDO final rankings:
1.    Blanka Vlasic (CRO)
2.    Jessica Ennis (GBR)
3.    Verena Sailer (GER)
4.    Anita Wlodarczyk (POL)
5.    Myriam Soumare (FRA)
6.    Nevin Yanit (TUR)
7.    Tatyana Firova (RUS)
8.    Natalya Antyukh (RUS)
9.    Mariya Savinova (RUS)
10.    Nadzeya Ostapchuk (BLR)
11.    Nuria Fernandez (ESP)
12.    Ineta Radevica (LAT)
13.    Yuliya Zarudneva (RUS)
14.    Alemitu Bekele (TUR)
15.    Olga Kaniskina (RUS)
16.    Liliya Shobukhova (RUS)
17.    Svetlana Feofanova (RUS)
18.    Sandra Perkovic (CRO)
19.    Hayley Yelling (GBR) 

European Athlete of the Year previous winners
1993 Sally Gunnell GBR
1994 Irina Privalova RUS
1995 Sonia O'Sullivan IRL
1996 Svetlana Masterkova RUS
1997 Astrid Kumbernuss GER
1998 Christine Arron FRA
1999 Gabriela Szabo ROU
2000 Trine Hattestad NOR
2001 Stephanie Graf AUT
2002 Süreyya Ayhan TUR
2003 Carolina Klüft SWE
2004 Kelly Holmes GBR
2005 Yelena Isinbayeva RUS
2006 Carolina Klüft SWE
2007 Blanka Vlasic CRO
2008 Yelena Isinbayeva RUS