Sat | Jan 20, 2018

Bolt up for sixth top IAAF award, says Its definitely a big deal

Published:Friday | December 2, 2016 | 11:10 AM
Sprinter Usain Bolt who is nominated for the International Athletic Foundation "2016 Athlete of the Year Award", gestures before a press conference, Friday.

Andre Lowe, Special Projects Editor - Sports

He might have already won on five occasions but sprint king Usain Bolt underlines that another IAAF Athlete of the Year (AOY) award tonight, would mean just as much for him as his first award in 2008.

Bolt’s victories in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 make him the athlete with the most AOY wins and the triple Olympic champion, who goes into tonight’s IAAF Athletics Awards as the favourite for the crown, says the nod still means a great deal to him.

“Its definitely still a big deal for me,” Bolt told reporters at the Fairmont Hotel, just over two hours before the awards ceremony at the nearby Salle Des Etoiles. “When you get to be athlete of the year it means all the hard work has paid off and so if I can win it for a sixth year then it would mean as much as the first one because it shows that the work I put in from the start, when I won the first one to me now trying to win my sixth is the same.”

Bolt is one of three finalists, with South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk and Great Britain’s Mo Farah also going up for the male award.

Another Jamaican Elaine Thompson will contest the female award with Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana and Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk.

READ: IAAF Award nomination a strong motivation - Elaine Thompson

“I know the other athletes work hard and the dedication they put into their events is also key and they certainly help to build the sport as well and I am always proud to go up against great names,” Bolt added.

A win for both Bolt and Thompson would secure a second sweep of the Athlete of the Year awards for Jamaica after his win with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in 2013.

Only the USA can also claim an award sweep with Carl Lewis and Florence Griffith-Joyner taking the 1988 awards.