World Under-20 800m champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi has been shortlisted for the World Athletics 2021 Male Rising Star Award to recognise this year’s best Under-20 athletes.
According to World Athletics, the nominations reflect the many incredible performances that the sport has witnessed this year, at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and other events around the world.
The winner of the 2021 Male Rising Star Award will be selected by an international panel of experts and be announced live at the World Athletics Awards 2021 on 1 December.
Wanyonyi has earned his shortlist after a stellar performance at the World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi where he won all his races up to the final where he clinched the crown in a new national junior record.
The athlete who trains under former world Champion Janeth Jepkosgei’s camp was in stellar form and did not hide his ambition of becoming the best two-lapper in the world.
“We know that there have been so many greats in 800m from Kenya and over the last few years, we have lost this title. My ambition is to work hard enough to reclaim this crown and dominate the race for many years to come,” Wanyonyi said in a previous interview.
He added; “I am inspired by my coach Janeth as well as world record holder David Rudisha. My hope is to become as good as they were in their prime and achieve as much as they did, if not better. I know 2022 will be even greater and I am prepared to work harder.”
Wanyonyi will battle for the award with the American duo of Sean Burrell and Erriyon Knighton. Burrell broke the World Under-20 400m hurdles record and clinched the American title this year.
Knighton on her end hold the world record in the Under-20 category in 200m and finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Ethiopian Tadese Worku who lit up the Kasarani Stadium at the World Under-20 Championships to walk home with two medals is also shortlisted. He clinched the 3,000m title before finishing second to go home with silver in the 5,000m.
Worku also holds the senior national record for the 10km and has World U20 leading times at 3000m, 10,000m and 10km
The favourite however to land the award is French sprinter Sasha Zhoya.
Zhoya was one of the stars at the Under-20 World Championship in Nairobi where he twice broke his own World U20 record in the 110m hurdles, eventually clinching the title. He is also the European title holder.
Meanwhile, no Kenyan girl has earned a nomination for the female rising star that is headlined by Olympic silver medalist and world under-20 champion Christine Mboma as well as Olympic 800m champion Athing Mu of the United States.
Mboma has had a splendid season, raking in results in the cloud of so many adversities including being classified as an ADHD athlete. Mboma was forced to step down from her preferred 400m race towards the Olympics due to World Athletics rules on testosterone levels.
She however defied the odds and went on to clinch silver in the 200m at the Olympic Games before travelling to Nairobi, winning the title in 200m in world record time. She also won the Diamond League 200m title.
American Mu meanwhile stunned the world when she stormed to victory in the 800m in Tokyo despite making her debut. She was also part of the American 4x400m team that clinched gold in the Japanese capital.
Ethiopian World U20 3000m steeplechase silver medalist Zerfe Wondemagegn, Finish hammer thrower and World U20 champion Silja Kosonen and British 800m athlete Keely Hodgkinson who won silver at the Olympic Games are the other nominees.