IAAF Athlete of the year: van Niekerk on, Gatlin off

IAAF Athlete of the year: van Niekerk on, Gatlin off

World 100m champion Justin Gatlin was left off the 10 male nominees for the IAAF 2017 World Athlete of the Year.

Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, was a surprise winner of the 100m at the World Athletics Championship in August as Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt bowed out of his illustrious career with a disappointing bronze medal.

It is the first time since 2004 the American misses out that the world or Olympic 100m champion has been omitted from the shortlist.

American World 100m Champion Justin Gatlin

Gatlin’s omission is as a result of change in rules done two years ago by the IAAF to leave out any athlete who was sanctioned for a serious doping offence in the past. The decision was made after Germany’s Olympic discus champion Robert Harting asked for his own name to be removed from the list in protest at Gatlin’s inclusion in 2014.

The 2017 list is led by British 10,000m world champion Mo Farah and South Africa’s 400m star Wayde van Niekerk.
The women’s list includes comeback queen Sally Pearson of Australia, the 100m hurdles champion, and South Africa’s Caster Semenya, the 800m champion.

The nominees for 2017 World Athlete of the Year
Men: Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) high jump; Pawel Fajdek (POL) hammer; Mo Farah (GBR) 10,000m; Sam Kendricks (USA) pole vault; Elijah Manangoi (KEN) 1,500m; Luvo Manyonga (RSA) long jump; Omar McLeod (JAM) 110m hurdles; Christian Taylor (USA) triple jump; Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) 400m; Johannes Vetter (GER) javelin.

Women: Almaz Ayana (ETH) 10,000m; Maria Lasitskene (RUS – competing as a neutral) high jump; Hellen Obiri (KEN) 5,000m; Sally Pearson (AUS) 100m hurdles; Sandra Perkovic (CRO) discus; Brittney Reese (USA) long jump; Caster Semenya (RSA) 800m; Ekaterini Stefanidi (GRE) pole vault; Nafissatou Thiam (BEL) heptathlon; Anita Wlodarczyk (POL) hammer.

Voting closes on 16 October and the winners will be announced at the IAAF Athletics Awards in Monaco on 24 November.

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