SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP)Romanian swimmer David Popovici has been named Best Balkan Athlete of the year, according to the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) annual poll results released Wednesday.

The 18-year-old Popovici won the men’s 100 and 200 freestyle world and European titles in 2022 and set a new 100 freestyle world record. Popovici also won a total of ten gold medals at the World and European Junior Championships.

Serbia’s tennis star Novak Djokovic, who won this year’s Wimbledon tournament and the ATP Final, came in second. Djokovic is the record holder with seven first-place rankings in the BTA poll.

Third came Croatia’s playmaker Luca Modric who won with his country’s soccer team the bronze medal at the World Cup in Qatar, as well as the Champions League with his club Real Madrid.

The 48th edition of the Balkan poll was conducted among the national news agencies of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey.