Elite trio in the running to become Newcomer of the Year 2018
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Elite trio in the running to become Newcomer of the Year 2018

One thing is certain: The Newcomer of the Year 2018 will represent a first for the Credit Suisse Sports Awards. Since the category was introduced in 2001, no swimmers, cyclists, or long-distance runners have ever won. The candidates are European swimming champion Jérémy Desplanches, U23 world and European cycling champion Marc Hirschi, and European 10k road running record holder Julien Wanders.

The vote for the winner will be held between November 14 and December 4 at www.credit-suisse-sports-awards.ch. Sports enthusiasts and, above all, fans of the three nominees can take part and – with a little luck – win some exciting prizes. The sportsperson with the highest total number of votes from the media, top athletes, and online voters will be crowned the winner. Each of these three groups will make up one-third of the final result.

Profiles of the three nominated athletes

Jérémy Desplanches (24): At the European Championships, Geneva-based Desplanches achieved an extremely rare feat for a Swiss swimmer, winning gold in the 200 m individual medley. This marks the first time in 18 years that a Swiss pool swimmer has won a medal in an Olympic discipline. Desplanches started the race as the main competitor behind favorite Philip Heintz (GER). "But in the back of my mind, I was focusing on winning," he said afterward. This conviction was on display right from the first discipline, the butterfly. Desplanches took the lead and did not give it up for the rest of the race. This success shows that he is on course to achieve his master plan, working with French coach Fabrice Pellerin in Nice, to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games and achieve a top 5 ranking.

Marc Hirschi (20): "As a national coach, it's rare to encounter a racing cyclist with this much potential," Daniel Gisiger once commented. Although Gisiger did not make this statement this year, Hirschi became U23 European road racing champion in July, and at the end of September became the first Swiss person ever to win gold in the U23 Road World Championships. Giger recognized the potential of his athlete a couple of years ago. Back then, Hirschi excelled at the U20 World Championships, winning a host of medals. Hirschi himself is stunned by his latest success: "It's awesome how everything has turned out this season." Hirschi has now already signed a professional contract for the Sunweb German World Tour team under team leader Tom Dumoulin – testament to how his success is recognized and valued. "It's incredible how things can suddenly start progressing so quickly," he remarked.

Julien Wanders (22): After high school, the Geneva native decided to leave the classroom behind and follow his calling. "I'm going to be a runner," Julien Wanders said three years ago. Since then he has been inspired by East African runners – the best in his discipline. As a result, Wanders spends much of the year in the runners' paradise Eldoret, in Kenya. His astonishing development has delivered convincing results, including a number of top placings and record-breaking times. His most noteworthy successes to date are the European 10k road running record, which he took from none other than the four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah (GBR), and the Swiss half-marathon record of 1:00:09 hours, which he took from European Champion Tadesse Abraham. With this time, he also broke the U23 European record.