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Hellen Obiri punches the air in delight after winning the 5,000m race at the Kip Keino Classic on October 3, 2020. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya


Three Kenyans to battle for World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year award

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 3 – Half Marathon world champion and record holder Peres Jepchirchir, Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon and world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri have been named in the shortlist of 10 athletes set to battle for the World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year award.

No Kenyan female athlete has ever won the award and the trio who have had successful seasons will look to erase that piece of history by battling seven other global superstars.

Though she did not compete in many races this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jepchirchir ensured whenever she stepped on the road, she made a piece of history.

She won the World Half Marathon title in Gdynia, Poland, two weeks ago, in world record time. She clocked 1:05:34 to win the race, breaking the world record for the second time after doing so earlier in September.

Meanwhile, despite thrice failing in attempts to break the 1,000m world record, Kipyegon still had a relatively successful year. She was undefeated in five races across all distances this season and had world-leading performances over 800m (1:57.68) and 1000m (2:29.15).

Obiri, winner of the Nairobi leg of the World Continental Gold Tour has won three races over 3000m and 5000m and ran a world-leading 8:22.54 over 3000m.

The three will duel against Briton middle distance athlete Laura Muir, Ethiopia’s 5,000m world record holder Letesenbet Gidey, compatriot Ababel Yeshaneh, Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson who is undefeated in seven 100m races and dutch duo of Sifan Hassan and Femke Bol.

A three-way voting process will determine the finalists.

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The World Athletics Council and the World Athletics Family will cast their votes by email, while fans can vote online via the World Athletics’ social media platforms.

Individual graphics for each nominee will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram this week; a ‘like’ on Facebook and Instagram or a retweet on Twitter will count as one vote.

The World Athletics Council’s vote will count for 50% of the result, while the World Athletics Family’s votes and the public votes will each count for 25% of the final result.

Voting for the Female World Athlete of the Year closes at midnight on Sunday 15 November. At the conclusion of the voting process, five men and five women finalists will be announced by World Athletics.

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