Jamaica Gleaner / Reigning 110m hurdles World Champion Omar McLeod is the only Jamaican who has been nominated for the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Male Athlete of the Year award.
The 23-year-old University of Arkansas student won the men’s 110m hurdles Diamond League race in Shanghai, China in 13.09 seconds then again in Eugene, Oregon, clocking 13.01 seconds in May this year. He finished seventh in the men’s 100m hurdles final at the Paris Diamond League meeting in July in a time of 13.41, after earlier clocking 13.13 in Heat Two.
The other male nominees for the prize are Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar; Pawel Fajdek of Poland; Great Britain’s Mo Farah; Americans Christian Taylor and Sam Kendricks; Kenya’s Elijah Manangoi; South Africans Luvo Manyonga and Wayde van Niekerk; and Johannes Vetter of Germany.
GOOD BLEND OF ATHLETES
Track and field coach and analyst David Riley told The Gleaner that the list provides a good blend of the best athletes this season.
“You have the best long jumper, the best triple jumper, the best pole vaulter, the best middle distance and long distance athlete is there, and the best hurdler. It seemed to capture quite a bit. It is easy to determine who is good, and who is not in track and field. Just line them up and who comes first, comes first, and who comes last, comes last,” Riley said.
Jamaicans who have won the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year Award include Usain Bolt who won the award a record six times in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016. Former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell also won the award in 2006.
NO JAMAICAN WOMEN NOMINATED
No Jamaican made the list of female nominees, with the 10 including the 2016 Female Athlete of the Year Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia.
The other nominees are Olympic sprint hurdles champion and 2011 female winner, Sally Pearson of Australia; reigning World 800m champion and 1500m bronze medallist Caster Semenya of South Africa; Maria Lasitskene, who is a Russian, but competes as a neutral athlete; Hellen Obiri of Kenya; Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic; American Brittney Reese; Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece; Belgian Nafissatou Thiam, and Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland.
The finalists will be determined through a three-way voting process involving the IAAF Council, the IAAF Family, and track and field fans.
Fans may vote online via the IAAF’s social media platforms. The IAAF Council’s vote will count for 50 per cent of the result, with the IAAF Family and public votes accounting for 25 per cent each.
Voting closes on October 16 when the three finalists will be announced. The winners will be named at the World Athletes of the Year Gala in Monaco on November 24.