December 18, 2017 / 11:50 AM / a year ago

Sport-Dimitrov beats Halep to win Balkan athlete of year

SOFIA, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Bulgaria’s world number three tennis player Grigor Dimitrov has been named Balkan Athlete of the Year, the Bulgarian news agency (BTA) said on Monday.

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 meters 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.

Croatia’s Luka Modric, who was named Club World Cup’s most valuable player on Saturday after his club Real Madrid won their fifth trophy this year, was the highest-placed soccer player, coming sixth in the 45th poll, organised by BTA. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov, Editing by William Maclean)

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