Faith Kipyegon will look to become the first ever Kenyan woman to win the World Female Athlete of the Year award after being named in the preliminary shortlist of 10 athletes released on Friday by World Athletics.
Kipyegon who successfully defended her Olympic Games title in Tokyo, Japan in August has had a splendid season and will look to make the final list as Kenya hopes for a double award.
Marathon great Eliud Kipchoge has also been nominated for the male award.
Kipyegon enjoyed a stellar 2021 campaign and apart from clinching the Olympic Gold with a complete thrashing of Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan also won the Diamond Trophy in the same distance.
The on-form Kipyegon also broke the Kenyan national record twice and finished off her season with a win at the Kip Keino Continental Gold Classic Tour in Nairobi.
She will have a healthy field to battle for the award.
Hassan, who she beat for the 1500m crown in Tokyo has also been shortlisted for her imperious performance at the Olympic Games where she won three medals. She clinched the 5,000m and 10,000m titles and was halted from an unprecedented triple assault by Kipyegon in the 1500m where she finished second.
American youngster Athing Mu has also been nominated for the award after her surprise run at the Olympic Games where she won gold in the 800m. She was also part of the American team that clinched the 4x400m title.
Mu also broke the World U20 record in the two-lap race and in this same season lowered North American records in the 400m and 800m.
Sprint queen Elaine Thompson-Herah is also another top contender for the award having also had a superb season. She won triple Olympic gold, winning both the 100m and 200m as well as guiding the Jamaican team to victory in the 4x100m relay.
The emphatic sprinter also broke national records in the 100m and 200m and on her way to winning an Olympic gold in the 100m ran the second fastest time of all time.
Others who have made the preliminary list of 10 include American Valarie Allman who is the Olympic and Diamond League discus champion, Puerto Rican hurdler Jasmine Camacho-Quinn who broke the Olympic record in the 100m women’s hurdles race, Russian high jumper Mariya Lasitskene, American 400m hurdler Sydney McLaughlin, Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas who also won the award last year.
This week marks the opening of the voting process for the 2021 World Athletes of the Year ahead of the World Athletics Awards 2021 to be held in December.
Commenting on the Awards, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “As always, the World Athletics Awards will recognise athletes who have performed at the highest level across the year, taking into account not only the Olympic Games, but the one-day meeting circuits. We do recognise that athletes in some parts of the world faced greater challenges than others in accessing international competition this year, which complicated the nomination process. However, we saw some impressive breakthroughs at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and we look forward to those athletes having more opportunities to shine next year, with five World Athletics Series events and a full schedule of one-day meetings on the calendar.”
A three-way voting process will determine the finalists.
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 World Athletes of the Year closes at midnight on Saturday 6 November. At the conclusion of the voting process, five women and five men finalists will be announced by World Athletics.
The female and male World Athletes of the Year will be announced live at the World Athletics Awards 2021 in December.