T&F News picks Van Niekerk, Wlodarczyk
TRACK AND FIELD NEWS, the respected US magazine, has selected Wayde van Niekerk and Anita Wlodarczyk as its Athletes of the Year for 2016. Wlodarczyk, Poland's Olympic hammer throw champion and van Niekerk, the South African who won the Olympic 400 metre final, were given clear margins by the panel of experts whose choices appear on the magazine's website. Jamaica's Olympic sprint double winners Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson appear at number 3 in the publication's annual world ranking issue, with 110 metre hurdles champion Omar McLeod at number 9 in the men's compilation.
The 24-year-old South African van Niekerk received 28 of 32 votes for the top spot, with the others going to Kenya's Olympic marathon winner Eliud Kipchoge (2), Britain's 5,000 and 10,000 winner Mo Farah, and Bolt (1 each). The South African's stunning world record of 43.03 seconds in the Olympic final was a major highlight of the season.
Undefeated in 12 meets, Wlodarczyk got 21 of the 32 votes from the TRACK AND NEWS panel of experts for the number 1 position in the rankings. The 31 year-old Pole set a world record to win at the Olympics and raised it to 82.98 metres later. Remarkably, she launched the 42 longest throws of the year.
Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana, (6), Thompson (3) and Keni Harrison, the world record breaker US 100 metre hurdler, received the other votes for number 1.
The women's top 5
1. Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland) hammer
2. Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) long
3. Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) sprints
4. Ruth Jebet (Bahrain) steeplechase
5. Keni Harrison (US) 100m hurdles
The men's top 5
1. Wayde van Niekerk
(South Africa) 400m
2. Mo Farah (Great Britain) 5000, 10,000 metres
3. Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 100, 200m
4. Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) marathon
5. Ashton Eaton (US) decathlon
9. Omar McLeod (Jamaica) 110m hurdles