Seven African Athletes Nominated For Top International Athletics Awards

By Peter Pedroncelli AFKI Original Published: October 19, 2016, 6:38 am
World Championship Double - Wayde van Niekerk - Rio 2016 Olympic GamesWayde van Niekerk, men’s 400m world record race, Rio Olympics 2016. Photo: Roger Sedres/athletics.com

The seven African athletes nominated for the 2016 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)‎ World Athlete of the Year awards come from Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia.

A list of 10 men and 10 women was revealed by the world athletics body this week, including the likes of sprint king Usain Bolt and Britain’s Mo Farah.

The eventual winner will be announced at an event in Monaco on December 2, and the seven African athletes have a chance to be crowned as the year’s top performer in their discipline.

Kenya’s David Rudisha, Eliud Kipchoge, Censeslus Kipruto and Vivian Cheriuyot are some of the nominees from Africa, alongside Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana.

Rudisha managed to defend his men’s 800m gold medal at the Rio Olympics this year, commanding his race and ensuring that his London race was replicated in Brazil.

Almaz stunned the world at the Olympics with an incredible women’s 10,000m victory in a world record time of 29:17.45, dominating the long-distance race and defeating favoured compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, who finished in bronze, as well as silver medallist from Kenya, Vivian Cheruiyot.

Cheruiyot would have her day in the 5,000m later in the competition, while Ayana would finish third in that race.

South African athletes nominated

The two South African athletes included amongst the nominees are Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya.

Semenya closed out a superb athletics season recently with her maiden victory in an international 400m race at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels, clocking a career best of 50.40 seconds, after winning the 800m race at the penultimate leg of the series to lift the overall crown in the two-lap event.

The former world champion charged to Olympic gold in Rio back in August in a national record 1:55.28, and remained unbeaten in her specialist discipline this year.

Van Niekerk, meanwhile, delivered a stunning performance throughout the year, earning Team SA’s only other gold medal at the Rio Games.

The 24-year-old sprinter had opened his season with a 9.98 victory over 100m at the Free State Athletics Championships in Bloemfontein in March, becoming the first man to run under 10 seconds (100m), 20 seconds (200m) and 44 seconds (400m) in a career.

At the Olympics, he set a 400m world record of 43.03, taking 0.15 off the 16-year-old global best previously held by American great Michael Johnson, further establishing his place among the fastest men in the world, and earning this IAAF nod for his efforts.

Van Niekerk will have a decent chance at winning the award, but considering the fact that Bolt is included in the same category for the year, his triple-triple at his last Olympic Games may see the Jamaican win the accolade.

 

Nominees for 2016 World Athlete of the Year

MEN

Usain Bolt (JAM)

Thiago Braz da Silva (BRA)

Ashton Eaton (USA)

Mo Farah (GBR)

Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)

Conseslus Kipruto (KEN)

Omar McLeod (JAM)

David Rudisha (KEN)

Christian Taylor (USA)

Wayde van Niekerk (RSA)

 

WOMEN

Almaz Ayana (ETH)

Ruth Beitia (ESP)

Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN)

Kendra Harrison (USA)

Caterine Ibarguen (COL)

Ruth Jebet (BRN)

Sandra Perkovic (CRO)

Caster Semenya (RSA)

Elaine Thompson (JAM)

Anita Wlodarczyk (POL)

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