The pair who missed out on the IAAF World Athlete of the Year gongs in Monaco last year got the nod from the respected American publication that has been in circulation since 1948 with the men 800m champion and record holder winning the male accolade for the second year in a row.
“In 2011 it would have been tough for David Rudisha to live up to the lofty standards he set in 2010, when he went undefeated and twice lowered the World Record in the 800. That led to one of the rare perfect-score wins in Athlete of the Year voting history,” TFN reported when the results for the men’s vote where Rudisha garned 272 points.
Jamaican sprint star, Usain Bolt, who was named the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year in Monaco last November, came second with 259 with Daegu discus champion, Robert Harting of Germany, the first left handed thrower to win the world title, third with 255.
Surprise Daegu 100m champion, who alongside Rudisha and Bolt were nominated for the top IAAF gong, finished fourth in the TFN poll 11 points adrift of Harting.
“This year the 23-year-old Kenyan didn’t set any World Records and even lost a race. But the world champion nonetheless repeated as the men’s AOY, winning 10 of his 11 races, topped by a 1:41.33 that rates as the number 5 time in history,” TFN added.
In the women’s poll, Kenya scored a double when Cheruiyot was named the Female Athlete of the Year for her unparalleled success that saw her win the World Cross senior in addition to the 5,000m and 10,000m double in South Korea.
“In becoming the first Kenyan woman ever to win (and only the fifth from her nation ever to make the top 10), Cheruiyot was a convincing No. 1, earning 21 of the 33 first-place ballots cast by our 33-member international panel,” the publication said of the athlete who scooped 317 points.
Tellingly, Australian hurdler, Sally Pearson, who was named the shock IAAF Female Athlete of the Year in her stead, came second in the TFN rating with 292 with another nominee for the top world body end of season award, New Zealand Shot put thrower, Valerie Adams in third (252).
On Saturday (December 31), Cheruiyot won the women’s 5km race at the Boclassic Silvesterlauf in Bolzano in Italy where she edged Ethiopia’s Afera Godfay in the final sprint in a dead heat 16:03 finish.
Cheruiyot, who has made her aspirations of winning an Olympics double in London as well as setting the women 5,000m world record this year, faces the stern test of reigning titleholder and record holder, Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba, who marked her return from competition with victory on Sunday.
The winning pair will feature prominently in the February edition of the magazine that is out this week.
-Story sourced from Track and Field News website