Thompson claims international award
Jamaica's Elaine Thompson has been voted International Female Athlete of the Year by readers of the British publication Athletics Weekly. Thompson, Olympic champion at 100 and 200 metres, took the award ahead of American 100 metre hurdler Kendra Harrison and Caster Semenya, South Africa's rejuvenated Olympic 800 metres champion. The men's award went to British distance runner Mohammed Farah.
According to the Athletics Weekly website, readers gave Thompson 27.4 per cent of their votes. By comparison, Harrison, who broke a long-standing world record in 2016 with her run of 12.20 seconds, and Semenya received 24.3 per cent and 12.7 per cent of the total choices, logged respectively. Thompson's victory follows a brilliant season. In addition to her Olympic double, she was undefeated at 100 metres and established world-leading times at both distances, with clockings of 10.70 and 21.78 seconds respectively.
The other female nominees were Polish hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk, Ethiopia's distance runner Almaz Ayana, Croatian discus thrower Sandra Perkovic, steeplechaser Ruth Jebet of Bahrain, Bahamian 400 metre runner Shaunae Miller, and Thompson. All but Harrison won gold medals in Rio. Ayana, Wlodarczyk, Jebet, and Harrison all set world records this year.
Farah, who became the second man to repeat both as 5,000 and 10,000 metre Olympic champion, beat Bolt to the men's award. The Briton received 36.5 per cent of reader votes, with Bolt getting 32.7 per cent. South African Wayde van Niekerk, who set a world record of 43.03 seconds to win the Olympic 400 metres, got 19.6 per cent of the online vote.
The other male nominees for the magazine's International Male Athlete of 2016 were US shot putter Ryan Crouser; Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge; US decathlete Ashton Eaton; Kenyan 800 metres runner David Rudisha; and Bolt's compatriot, Omar McLeod. All eight nominees were gold medal winners in the Rio Olympic Games, with McLeod placing first in the 110 metre hurdles.
Bolt and Ayana were named Athletes of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations earlier in the month.