Thompson Herah on course despite missing award - Rojas, Duplantis take top honours at World Athletics ceremony
Renowned track and field analyst Hubert Lawrence says double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson Herah can take heart from her performances this season, despite not winning the female World Athlete of the Year award.
Thompson Herah, who was one of the five finalists, lost out to eventual winner Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela, following the virtual awards ceremony on Saturday.
“I think that the fact that she was nominated in a season where there was not a lot of track and field, and to get through to the top five, will show that she and Coach (Stephen) Francis have been able to manage the training and competition sufficiently. I think Elaine and her connections would go back and say this is a good basis to start from, going into the 2021 Olympic year.”
This is the second time that Thompson Herah has been overlooked for the prestigious award, following her double gold medal success at the Rio Olympics in 2016. The award on that occasion went to Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, who won the Olympic 10,000m title and broke the world record (29:17:45 minutes).
Thompson Herah went undefeated in her seven 100m races this year, and recorded a world-leading 10.85 seconds in the process.
For Lawrence, the curtailed 2020 season has served the World champion well, and it should serve as a confidence booster for Thompson Herah, who is expected to progress even further heading into the new season.
“I think she has done enough to have some confidence and, because she has had the Achilles trouble, if they train smart and keep on treating the problem, she can get through to the Olympic year with a shot at defending her titles in Tokyo,” said Lawrence.
Meanwhile, Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis became the youngest male athlete of the year, with the 21-year-old coming out on top following a record-breaking season.
Both Duplantis and Rojas had record-breaking years, with the Swede breaking the world record twice in the pole vault back in February, following leaps of 6.17 and 6.18 metres.
Rojas broke the South American indoor triple jump record in her first competition of the year, reaching 15.03 metres in Metz France. She followed that up with another scintillating performance at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Meet in Madrid, where she leapt 15.43 metres in the final round to break the World Indoor record by seven centimetres.