Idowu and Ohuruogu named athletes of the year

From Matthew Brown, BAWA
Phillips Idowu, pictured right with his trophy, and Christine Ohuruogu were named Athletes of the Year at the British Athletics Writers’ Association’s 46th Annual Awards Dinner in London tonight.

The two Olympic medallists were voted Britain’s top athletes of 2008 in a poll among BAWA members.

Ohuruogu’s overwhelming success saw her win the female athlete of the year award for the second year in a row.

The 24-year-old from Mile End was Britain’s only athletics gold medallist in Beijing, where she added the Olympic crown to her World Championships and Commonwealth Games titles. Ohuruogu won the 400m, beating pre-race favourite and world No1 Sanya Richards in 49.62sec.

The east Londoner was also a joint winner of the 2008 Best Performance in a British Vest trophy presented by the sport’s sponsors Aviva.

Ohuruogu, who won the Aviva award in 2007, shared this year’s trophy with wheelchair athlete David Weir, who won four medals, including two golds, at the Paralympic Games.

Idowu received the male Athlete of the Year award from BAWA chairman Jason Henderson in front of 400 guests at the Royal Lancaster Hotel.

The 29-year-old triple jumper from Hackney broke Jonathan Edwards’ British indoor record with 17.75 metres to win the World Indoor Championships in March and later claimed the Olympic silver medal in Beijing when he missed out on gold by just 5cm.

Stephanie Twell won the junior female Athlete of the Year award. The 19-year-old from Farnborough became the World Junior 1,500m champion in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in July and was later selected for Britain’s Beijing Olympic team after setting a personal best 4min 05.83sec.

The junior male Athlete of the Year Award went to David Forrester, the top European finisher at the World Cross-country Championships in Edinburgh in March. The 18-year-old from Billinge went on to finish ninth over 1,500m at the World Junior Championships.

George Gandy was presented with the Ron Pickering Award for services to athletics. Gandy, director of the UK Athletics High Performance Centre at Loughborough University, currently coaches Lisa Dobriskey, the Commonwealth Games 1,500m gold medallist who finished fourth in Beijing.

Over his 36-year coaching career Gandy has worked with many of Britain’s top international distance runners including Sebastian Coe, Jack Buckner and Jon Brown.

For more pictures from the event, click here

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