By Nastassia Marynina,
Executive Secretary, Belarusian Sports Press Association
MINSK, January 20, 2009 - Olympic Hammer Throwing champion Aksana Miankova and Olympic Weightlifting champion Andrei Aramnau were named the top Belarusian Athletes of the Year in the National Public Awards ceremony, “Triumph. Heroes of Sport 2008 ”
A Gala ceremony was held in Minsk on January 17 following a poll which attracted about 1.5million votes from the Belarusian public. Locals had a month to register their votes for their favourite sportsmen in the categories:Coach of the Year”, “Athlete of the Year” (male and female), and “Team of the Year”.
Winners in four categories – “Strong Spirit”, “Break of the Year”, “Result of Year” and “The brightest sports moment of the year” - were chosen by a professional jury.
Hammer throw Olympic champion Aksana Miankova was bestowed the title “Athlete of the Year” by Berlarusian minister of sports and tourism, Alexander Grigorov who presented her with 29 white roses. She won the gold medal at the XXIX Olympic Games.
“It is a great pleasure for me been chosen the winner in this nomination,” Aksana Miankova said. “Thanks everyone. And I would like to thank the President of Belarus, for the attention he gives to the development of sports in Belarus. I would also like to thank all of the specialists who have supported me over the past four years - my personal coach Valery Vorontsovu, Anatoliy Badoyev, Victor Paprotski, Ighar Astapkovich, the medical personnel, masseurs – thanks all!”
World champion Andrei Aramnau, who broke three heavyweight world records on the Olympic Games in Beijing was named as best Belarusian male athletes of the 2008.
“Be sure, it’s not my last award as best Belarusian athlete of the year!” – a confident Ariamnau said.
The Beijing Decathlon silver medalist Andrey Krauchanka picked up the “The brightest sports moment of the year” award for his brilliant finish on a distance of 1500 meters on the Olympic Games in Beijing.
“Many thanks to everyone who was a fan of athletics. This support helps us so much!” he added.
The “Strong Spirit” prize was handed to Beijing Paralympic rowing silver medalist Lyudmila Vauchok. Before an injury we was a middle distance runner who took part in top athletics competitions such as the European Cup.
“Coach of the Year” - Victar Hancharenka (FC BATE).
“Team of the Year” - FC BATE
“Break of Year” – Ina Zukava (Gymnastic Olympic silver medalist).
“Result of year” – National canoe/kayak team (2 gold and 1 bronze medals).
"Strong Spirit" - Lyudmila Vauchok, Beijing Paralympic Rowing silver medalist