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Posted: April 15, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Athletics: German double as Bayer & Friedrich are European Athletes of the Month for March

European Athletics is pleased to announce that German Long Jumper Sebastian Bayer and German High Jumper Ariane Friedrich have been selected as the European Athletes of the Month for March.

Bayer was the shock sensation of the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Torino when he set a new German Indoor record of 8.29m in the first round before jumping to an incredible European Indoor record of 8.71m in the final round to win his first major championship by some 49cm.

The 22-year old, who previously won a silver medal in the European Athletics Junior Championships in 2005 leapt into second place on the World All time lists only headed by the peerless Carl Lewis who won the Olympic Long Jump title on four consecutive occasions.

The so called "wonder jump", which has been viewed over 50,000 times on YouTube, has propelled the modest Bayer Leverkusen clubman onto the front pages of the German media and he is now looking forward to repeating that form in front of his home crowd at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin in August.

Friedrich on the other hand has had an outstand winter season to date, culminating in a well deserved and top quality victory in the High Jump at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Torino.

Despite being unbeaten throughout her nine competitions during the season, the 25-year-old was still not the favourite going into the final in Torino, but she showed why she is now the red hot favourite for the world title in Berlin following her 2.01m clearance to strike gold in Torino.

The former European Junior Champion who was 7th at the Olympic Games in Beijing has now claimed the title of world's number one high jumper from the former European Athlete of the Year Blanka Vlasic and it promises to be an outstanding summer of competition between the two.

The runners up in the men's poll were Estonian Discus star Gerd Kanter and Italian triple jumper Fabrizio Donato (ITA) while Turkish 3,000m star Alemitu Bekele and Estonian long jumper Ksenija Balta were the runners up in the women's poll.

The European Athlete of the Month initiative was launched in January 2007 and is designed to recognise outstanding performers at all levels of the sport in Europe.

European Athletics will name a male and female winner each month and feature the athlete on the European Athletics website. Selections are based on votes by the public, the media and a panel of European Athletics experts with each counting for 33.3% of the final vote.

No athlete who has previously served a 2 year anti doping ban can be nominated for or win the European Athlete of the Month.

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