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Bolt eyes historic IAAF award

Published:Wednesday | November 21, 2012 | 12:00 AM

With just a few days to go, Jamaican sprinting royalty Usain Bolt inches closer to yet another slice of history, as he eyes a historic fourth IAAF Male Athlete of the Year (AOY) award at the IAAF Grand Gala and Awards Ceremony.

The IAAF is this year celebrating 100 years of existence, and though never one who needed a real reason to party, Bolt is looking to make it a big weekend at the glitzy affair in Barcelona, Spain.

Bolt has the company of Moroccan middle-distance legend Hicham El Guerrouj as the only athletes with three such awards to their name.

El Guerrouj won his awards from 2001-2003, while Bolt's triumphs came in 2008, 2009 and last year.

On Saturday, though, the 26-year-old could secure another first. It will not be an easy acquisition for the man who successfully defended his Olympic 100m and 200m titles at the London Games a few months ago.

He will be up against it with the smooth-hurdling Aries Merritt and the indomitable David Rudisha also in contention for one of the closest IAAF Male AOY races in years.

Nonetheless, notwithstanding his only two losses - to training partner Yohan Blake at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships earlier this year - this ranks as one of Bolt's best seasons since his campaign of domination started in 2008.

The powerful sprinter followed up his London exploits, which also included a blistering anchor leg - reportedly clocked at 8.70; matching Asafa Powell's 2008 Beijing Olympic split - with top honours in the 100m for the rich Samsung Diamond League series.

Individual world records

Both Meritt and Rudisha will take individual world records to the table; Merritt's determined and season-long assault on the 110m hurdles world record finally bearing dividends with a new mark of 12.80.

Replacing the old record of 12.87, Merritt's mark followed an amazing eight sub-13 seconds clockings this year and tucks in nicely with his Olympic, World Indoor and Diamond League titles.

Rudisha has had a stranglehold on his 800m pet event for some time and broke new ground at the Olympic Games, becoming the first man to dip below one minute, 41 seconds with a 1:40.91 time which betters Wilson Kipketer's 15-year record of 1:41.11.

Some track and field aficionados rate Rudisha's performance as the best single run at the Olympic Games in London, leaving the Kenyan star with a honest shot at upstaging Bolt and Merritt when the votes are tallied in a few days.

- Andre Lowe