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Ennis and Idowu named British athletes of the year

2009-11-16 10:29:00 IAAF

15 November 2009, London, UK – Jessica Ennis and Phillips Idowu were named Athletes of the Year at the British Athletics Writers’ Association’s 47th Annual Awards Dinner in London on Saturday (14).

Britain’s two gold medallists at this summer’s IAAF World Championships in Berlin were voted the country’s top athletes of 2009 in a poll among BAWA members. Idowu won the male athlete of the year trophy for the second year in a row, the first man to do so since fellow triple jumper Jonathan Edwards in 2000 and 2001.

Ennis won the female award for the first time after dominating the Heptathlon in Berlin only a year after she was forced to miss the Beijing Olympic Games with a career-threatening ankle injury. The 23-year-old from Sheffield won gold with a world leading score of 6731, placing her second behind Denise Lewis on the British all-time list.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I think I’d go to the World Championships and lead from beginning to end,” said Ennis.

“I’ve set a high standard for myself but with the Olympics here in three years this is the time and opportunity to make the most of it.”

Ennis also won the 2009 Best Performance in a British Vest trophy, presented by the sport’s sponsors Aviva during the glittering ceremony at London’s Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel.

Idowu received the male Athlete of the Year award from BAWA secretary, and Athletics Weekly editor, Jason Henderson in front of 350 guests.

The 30-year-old triple jumper from Hackney, east London, broke his outdoor personal best in Berlin to become Britain’s first male world champion since Edwards in 2001. Idowu leapt 17.73m to beat Olympic gold medallist Nelson Evora just 12 months after the disappointment of losing to the Portuguese jumper in Beijing.

“I was disappointed in Beijing,” he said. “I was in great shape and it slipped through my fingers.

“But I jumped well in 2009 and it was great to get one over on Nelson. Now we’ve got a bigger party coming up in 2012 and I’m looking forward to that.”

Jodie Williams won the junior female Athlete of the Year award after clinching gold at both 100m and 200m at the IAAF World Youth Championships in July. The 16-year-old from Hertfordshire became the first British woman to win a global sprint double when she triumphed in Italy, and her winning times of 11.39 and 23.08 placed her third in the UK senior rankings for 2009.

The junior male Athlete of the Year award went to Lawrence Clarke who won the 110m hurdles at the European Junior Championships in Serbia this summer. The 19-year-old Bristol University student also broke Colin Jackson’s British junior sprint hurdles record with 13.37. He is coached by Jackson’s former mentor, Malcolm Arnold.

Matthews honoured for service to athletics

IAAF commentator, stadium announcer and statistician Peter Matthews was presented with the Ron Pickering Memorial Award for services to athletics. Matthews is editor of the world-renowned International Track and Field Annual, the acknowledged “Bible” of world athletics, and co-edits the Athletics International newsletter.

A former editor of the Guinness Book of Records, he has covered numerous major championships and Olympic Games as a commentator and announcer. Described by Ron’s son Sean as “a true athletics nut in the true sense of the word”, he is chairman of the National Union of Track Statisticians in the UK and a committee member of the international Association of Track and Field Statisticians.

On receiving his award from Jean Pickering, Ron’s widow, Matthews said: “I first picked up a microphone in April 1968 and I haven’t been too short of words too often since then, but I really am speechless this time.

“It is an enormous privilege to be presented with this award by one of the greatest ladies in British athletics.”

Matthew Brown for the IAAF

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