By Mike Rowbottom

Holly Bleasdale_head_and_shouldersFebruary 21 - British pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale and Russian high jumper Aleksey Dmitrik have been voted as the European Athletes of the Month for January.

The 20-year-old Bleasdale, 2011 European Athletics Under-23 Championships gold medallist, moved up to second on the world and European all-time indoor list with her mark of 4.87 metres in the French town of Villeurbane on January 21.

Her performance inevitably puts her into consideration for medals at this year's three big events: the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki and the Olympic Games in London.

Dmitrik (pictured), the 2011 World Championships silver medallist, jumped a world-leading 2.35m at the Moravian High Jump Tour meeting in Hustopece on January 28.

Aleksey Dmitrik_jumping_January_2012
Russia's high jump world champion Anna Chicherova twice went over the world-leading height of 2.00m during January and was voted second while her compatriot Yekaterina Bolshova, 23, finished third.

Bolshova put together a world-leading pentathlon score of 4,746 points in St Petersburg on January 5 and 6, the best tally by a European for almost two years.

In the men's poll, Italy's 2009 European Athletics Under-23 Championships triple jump gold medallist Daniele Greco, who went out to a world-leading mark of 17.24m in Ancona on January 21, was voted second while Russia's Konstantin Shabanov, who ran a European-leading 60m hurdles time of 7.54sec to win at the Aviva International Match in Glasgow on January 28, was voted third.

Selections are based on votes by the public, media and a panel of European Athletics experts; each counts for 33.3 per cent of the final vote.

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

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