Austrian Athletes of the Year: Günther Weidlinger and Veronika Watzek

Günther Weidlinger and Veronika Watzek have been voted Austrian Athletes of the Year

Distance Runner Günther Weidlinger and Discus thrower Veronika Watzek have been voted Austrian Athletes of the Year 2007. The Austrian Athletic Federation has carried out the online vote by the public and by a panel of journalists and experts.

In a very close decision, Weidlinger won the award for the eighth time just ahead of upcoming 400 metres runner Clemens Zeller, 6th at the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham, and Discus thrower Gerhard Mayer, winner of the World University Games in Bangkok. Mayer has been going through a very rough time recently as he has been informed about a positive A-sample from an out-of-competition test. After two weeks it came out that the laboratory has made a terrible mistake by muddling up the identity codes on two samples. Effectively it was stated that the positive A-sample was not from Mayer but from another person.

Veronika Watzek, 22, showed her potential by winning the Bronze medal at the European U23 Championships in Debrecen in the Discus throw. With a seasons and personal best of 58,77 metres, fifth in the European U23 Ranking, she has good chances to improve further to meet the qualification standard of 59,00 meters for the Olympic Games in Beijing. She won the vote ahead of Andrea Mayr, who ran a national steeplechase record of 9:48,87 minutes, and Susanne Pumper, who came second in the Cologne Marathon and improved her national record in the Half Marathon with 72:32 minutes.

Günther Weidlinger, 29, has experienced some considerable highs and lows in 2007. After coming second in the 10.000m European Cup in Ferrara he performed strongly at the steeplechase with a seasons best of 8:15,35 minutes. His horrible crash at the World Championships in Osaka left him for 30 minutes unconscious and brought him some kind of unwanted public attention. Shortly after this incident he was able to qualify for the World Athletics Final und came second European athlete at the World Road Running Championships in Udine with a national record of 61:42 minutes for the Half Marathon. In the Olympic year he tries to focus on the 10.000 metres.
ÖLV News | Andreas Maier | 21.12.2007

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