Heptathlete and sprinter named athletes of the year by British Athletics Writers’ Association in London

World heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson has been named as female athlete of the year in the annual awards organised by the British Athletics Writers’ Association (BAWA).

The Liverpudlian, who struck gold with a UK record in Doha in October, was among a number of leading lights from 2019 honoured at a luncheon at the Tower Hotel in London on Friday (Nov 22).

The 26-year-old, whose year also brought her pentathlon gold at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow, was chosen in voting ahead of world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith and European indoor 1500m and 3000m champion Laura Muir by members of BAWA to receive the Cliff Temple Trophy.

Gemili, who was fourth in the 200m at the World Championships before helping Great Britain and Northern Ireland to 4x100m silver, picked up the John Rodda Award for male athlete of the year.

He finished just ahead of marathon man Callum Hawkins, who finished fourth in Doha, in the voting with hammer thrower Nick Miller and past winner Mo Farah sharing third place.

The Jim Coote Memorial Award for junior male was given to Max Burgin, who set a British under-20 800m record aged 17. The Lilian Board Memorial Award for junior female went to Amy Hunt, who established a world under-18 200m record in July before winning the European under-20 title over the same distance in Boras.

A week after the conclusion of the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, Sophie Hahn was crowned female para athlete of the year for the second time following a double sprint gold which was secured with back-to-back world records in the T38 100m and 200m.

The male para athlete of the year prize went to Thomas Young, silver medallist in the T38 100m in Dubai where he broke the European record in his heat and again in the final.

The prestigious Ron Pickering Memorial Award for Services to Athletics was given to athletics coach Peter Stanley, who will retire next year after almost 40 years of helping British jumpers to the head of the sport, including world triple jump record-holder Jonathan Edwards, while presently serving as UK Athletics’ head of field and combined events.

The Vikki Orvice Inspiration Award, newly re-named in honour of The Sun’s much-respected correspondent who sadly died of cancer earlier this year, was presented to sprinter James Ellington for his battle back from serious injuries sustained in a motorbike accident in January 2017 to return to competition this summer.

The BAWA awards date back to 1963 – when Dorothy Hyman and Maurice Herriott were the inaugural athlete of the year winners – and this year’s function also saw a number of other awards presented by the British Milers’ Club. They included Paul Hayes receiving the Frank Horwill award for outstanding services to the BMC. Andrew Henderson was named BMC coach of the year. Phil O’Dell took a lifetime services to coaching prize. Isabelle Boffey and Max Burgin were named junior athletes of the year, while Laura Muir and Jake Wightman took the 2019 senior athletes of the year honours.

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