NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 10- The four Kenyans who were named in the initial list of 10 male and 10 female athletes for this year’s IAAF World Athlete of the year award have failed to make the final shortlist of three.
The IAAF unveiled the finalists on Wednesday with 800m world record holder David Rudisha, Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, Olympic 3000 steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto and 5000m Olympic champion Vivian Cheruiyot all missing out.
While Rudisha, winner of the male athlete of the year award in 2012 bounced back from a disappointing season to win the Olympic gold, Kipchoge had been in imperious form on road running winning Kenya’s second marathon gold medal since the late Samuel Wanjiru in 2008.
Kipchoge also enjoyed success in the London and Berlin marathons, winning the World Marathon Majors honors.
Kipruto as well enjoyed a decent season on the track, defeating experienced Ezekiel Kemboi to the gold medal in Rio and capping it up with the Diamond League title after dominating the entire season of the water and hurdle race.
Cheruiyot continued her comeback since returning from maternity leave and won a gold and a silver in Rio. Having lost to Almaz Ayana in the 10,000m, the 33-year old breathed revenge and exerted her authority in the 5,000m, beating the Ethiopian.
The final male shortlist is headlined by bigwigs Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and South African Wayde van Niekerk while the women’s list has Ethiopia’s long distance sensation Ayana, Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson and Polish hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk.
Bolt who has already won the IAAF award five times ensured his final Olympic was signed off in style winning the ultimate ‘triple triple’ completing the unprecedented feat of winning the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay in three straight Olympics.
The 29-year old sprinter, record holder in all the three races managed to finish his Olympic career with a whooping nine gold medals, equaling Carl Lewis and Paavo Nurmi as the only two non swimmers to be on the podium that number of times.
He will face off for the ultimate crown with South African Van Niekerk who obliterated Michael Johnson’s 17-year World Record to win the 400m race in Rio ahead of Leshawn merit and Kirani James.
Mo Farah, regarded as the greatest British athlete is also gunning for the top crown having completed an unprecedented Olympic ‘double double’ by winning both the 10,000m and 5,000m trials for the second Olympic running.
In the women’s category Rio double Olympic champion and 2015 world champion Thompson will be gunning for the crown against Ayana as well as Olympic hammer throw champion and world record holder Włodarczyk.
The 31-year old set a new world record with a throw of 82.29m at the Olympics and just two weeks later, 82.98m to set a new record. In 2015, she became the first woman hammer thrower to throw more than 80m.
The finalists were determined by a three-way voting process. The IAAF Council’s vote counted for 50% of the result, the IAAF Family’s* vote counted for 25% and a public vote, conducted via social media, counted for 25% of the final result.
The World Athletes of the Year will be announced live on stage at the IAAF Athletics Awards on December 2.