BY DAVID ISAACSON
South African world champions Wayde van Niekerk‚ Luvo Manyonga and Caster Semenya have been nominated for the IAAF’s World Athlete of the Year.
Van Niekerk‚ who retained his 400m title in London‚ and long-jump champion Manyonga‚ whose 8.65m national record was also the best jump this decade so far‚ are among 10 candidates for the men’s award.
The US is the only other country in the men’s category with two nominees‚ being livewire pole-vaulter Sam Kendricks and triple jump star Christian Taylor.
Semenya‚ the 800m champion and 1500m bronze medallist‚ is the only South African for the women’s prize.
Fans can vote on the IAAF’s social media platforms‚ with their poll counting 25%.
The IAAF council vote will count 50% and the IAAF “family” vote will count 25%.
Voting closes on October 16 and the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in Monaco on November 24.
The only South African athlete to have won this award was high-jumper Hestrie Cloete in 2003.
The nominees are: Men: Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar)‚ Pawel Fajdek (Poland)‚ Mohamed Farah (UK)‚ Sam Kendricks (US)‚ Elijah Manangoi (Kenya)‚ Luvo Manyonga (SA)‚ Omar McLeod (Jamaica)‚ Christian Taylor (US)‚ Wayde van Niekerk (SA)‚ Johannes Vetter (Germany).
Women: Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia)‚ Maria Lasitskene (Russia)‚ Hellen Obiri (Kenya)‚ Sally Pearson (Australia)‚ Sandra Perkovic (Croatia)‚ Brittney Reese (US)‚ Caster Semenya (SA)‚ Ekaterini Stefanidi (Greece)‚ Nafissatou Thiam (Belgium)‚ Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland)