The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has kick started the nomination process for the 2017 World Athlete of the Year Award after releasing the names of 20 high profile athletes on Monday.
Ten male and ten female athletes have been shortlisted for the prestigious prize ahead of the IAAF Athletics Awards slated to hold on the 24th of November in Monaco, France.
Three men and three women finalists will be announced by the IAAF at the end of the voting process, which closes on October 16th. A three-way voting process comprising of the IAAF Council (50%), the IAAF Family (25%) and public votes (25%) will determine the finalists.
Topping the men’s category is reigning World Champion in the men’s High Jump, Mutaz Essa Barshim who enjoyed a dominant season in which he was unbeaten. Other World Champions who stood tall all season include Sam Kendricks (Pole vault) and South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga (Long Jump).
Other nominees in the men’s category are 400m reigning Olympic and World Champion Wayde Van Niekerk; six-time World Champion and multiple Olympic 5000m/10,000m GOLD medalist Mo Farah; three-time Triple Jump World Champion Christian Taylor, and reigning Olympic and World Champion in the 110m Hurdles Omar McLeod.
Completing the list are Beijing 2015/London 2017 GOLD medalist in the Hammer throw Pawel Fajdek; 1500m World Champion Elijah Manangoi, and reigning World Champion in the Javelin throw Johannes Vetter.
Beijing 2015 and London 2017 GOLD medallist in the women’s High Jump Mariya Lasitskene was in scintillating form all season and ended 2017 on a high (no pun intended) as she also claimed the Diamond Trophy. The 24-year old is certainly a strong contender for the award.
Caster Semenya, who has dominated the 800m for two seasons and is the reigning Olympic and World Champion in her event, is another contender for the award. Joining her are two-time Olympic and World Champion in the Discus throw, Sandra Perkovic; Ethiopia’s 10,000m World and Olympic GOLD medalist Almaz Ayana, and London 2017 5000m GOLD medalist Hellen Obiri of Kenya.
London 2012 Olympic Champion Sally Pearson bounced back from injury to win the 2017 world title in the 100m Hurdles in London, and also made the shortlist. Others are Long Jump World Champion Brittney Reese; Pole vault Olympic and World Champion Ekaterini Stefanidi; Belgian youngster Nafissatou Thiam who struck GOLD in the Heptathlon at Rio 2016 and London 2017, and World Record (WR) in the women’s Hammer throw Anita Wlodarczyk.