Usain Bolt and Almaz Ayana named the top athletes of the year

02 DEC 2016 MONACO, BOLT AND AYANA CROWNED 2016 WORLD ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

(Sky Sports) — Sprinting superstar Usain Bolt has been named the IAAF male Athlete of the Year for an unprecedented sixth time.

And Ethiopian distance runner Almaz Ayana has won the female Athlete of the Year award, following her record-setting 10,000m win at the Rio Olympics.

Bolt was dominant in Rio as well, winning three golds [100m, 200m and 4x100m] for the third Games in a row.

He duly claimed the Athlete of the Year prize ahead of Britain’s Mo Farah, who claimed a historic Olympic double-double in the 5,000m and 10,000m, and South African Wayde van Niekerk, who set a new world record when he won the 400m in Rio.

Top Athletes - Usain Bolt
Bolt holds up three fingers after completing the triple triple in Rio

Bolt previously claimed athlete of the year honours in in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The 30-year-old Jamaican said: “It’s definitely a big deal.

“When you get to be athlete of the year, it means that all the hard work has paid off so, if I can win it for a sixth year, it means as much as the first one.”

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said of Bolt: “There’s been nobody since Muhammad Ali who’s got remotely near to what this guy has done in terms of grabbing the public imagination.

“He’s in no doubt at all about how the sport feels about him and certainly how I do as a president.”

Almaz claimed the title in the female category after smashing the 10,000m world record in Rio, clocking 29 minutes, 17.45 seconds and knocking more than 14 seconds from a record which had been set 23 years earlier.

top athletes - Almaz Ayana

She beat off competition from Elaine Thompson, who won golds in the 100 and 200m in Rio before helping Jamaica to a silver medal in the 4x100m relay, and Polish Olympic hammer champion and world record holder Anita Wlodarczyk.

Canada’s Rio 200m silver and 100m bronze medallist Andre De Grasse was named male rising star of the year, with Belgian Nafissatou Thiam, the heptathlon champion at the Games in Brazil, taking the women’s award.

Bolt and Ayana top athletes

Almaz Ayana and Usain Bolt both enjoyed superb years on the track

Bolt and Ayana top athletes Bolt and Ayana top athletes

Other awards

MALE RISING STAR
Andre De Grasse

At the age of 21, the Canadian sprinter earned the Olympic 200m silver medal in Rio, having set a national record of 19.80 in the semifinal. He took bronze over 100m in a PB of 9.91 and anchored the Canadian team to bronze in the 4x100m, setting a national record of 37.64.

FEMALE RISING STAR
Nafissatou Thiam

The Belgian all-round talent won gold in the heptathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with a world-leading national record of 6810. Just 21 at the time, only one athlete (Carolina Kluft) has ever produced a higher score than Thiam’s at that age. En route to her Olympic triumph, she set a world heptathlon best of 1.98m in the high jump; higher than the winning leap in the individual high jump final.

COACHING ACHIEVEMENT
Harry Marra

The US coach guided Ashton Eaton to his second successive decathlon gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where Eaton equalled the Olympic record, and his third consecutive world indoor heptathlon title. Marra also guided Brianne Theisen-Eaton to the pentathlon title at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016, where she broke the North American record. She later earned the bronze medal in the heptathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

PRESIDENTS AWARD
Tegla Loroupe

Loroupe was the Chef de Mission for the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio. The former marathon world record-holder helped select the Refugee Olympic Team after the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation held a competition at the Kakuma refugee camp in north-west Kenya.

This award recognises and honours great service to athletics.

WOMEN IN ATHLETICS
Polyxeni Argeitaki

Argeitaki is an assistant professor of athletics at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens. The former Greek champion at middle-distance events is the treasurer, council member and president of the scientific committee at the Hellenic Athletics Federation. She has also written more than 50 scientific publications.

This award recognises outstanding achievements and contributions made to develop, encourage and strengthen the participation of women and girls at all levels of the sport.

IAAF

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