Sofia: Bulgaria’s world No. 3 tennis player Grigor Dimitrov has been named Balkan Athlete of the Year.
Dimitrov, who won the biggest title of his career when he captured the season-ending ATP Finals in London last month, became the first Bulgarian to scoop the prize after female wrestler Stanka Zlateva in 2010.
The 26-year-old, who has claimed three more titles on the tour this year and also reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros, beat another tennis player — Simona Halep, the first Romanian to reach the summit of the women’s rankings.
Turkish sprinter Ramil Guliyev, who pulled off a shock 200-metre victory at the World Athletics Championships in London in August, came third in the annual poll, conducted among the state-run news agencies in 10 Balkan countries.
Real Madrid’s Croatian midfielder Luka Modric, who was named the Club World Cup’s most valuable player in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, was the highest-placed football player, coming sixth.