Usain Bolt wins another award to end 2016 on a high
Usain Bolt capped off a memorable 2016 by winning the IAAF Athlete of the Year Award. The Jamaican sprint superstar beat Britain’s Mo Farah and South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk to claim the prize.
Bolt was in attendance to pick up his award at the ceremony which was being held in Salle des Etoiles, Monte Carlo. Earlier this year he once again etched his name into the history books when he completed an Olympic “Triple Triple.” He successfully defended his 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay titles in Rio. In essence, he became the first man to ever win three gold medals at three consecutive Olympic Games.
His victory in Monaco marked the sixth time that the Jamaican has won the gong for athlete of the year – more than any other athlete in history. Bolt has already stated that 2017 will more than likely be his last competitive season on the track. It appears his plan is to finish his unparalleled career at the IAAF World Championships in London next summer.
There might be a chance of a historic seventh Athlete of the Year Award should everything go to plan in the Olympic Stadium next year.
Of course, Bolt wasn’t the only winner on the night. The Female Athlete of the Year Award went to Almaz Ayana. She staved off competition from sprinter Elaine Thompson and hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk to take home the trophy.
The Ethiopian distance runner stunned spectators in Rio with a sublime run in the 10,000m, which saw her decimate the field and take 15 seconds off the world record. She added to her medal collection by also claiming a bronze in the 5000m event.
Some of the rising stars of track and field were also recognised, as Canadian sprinter Andre de Grasse and Belgian heptathlete Nafissatou Thiam won the IAAF Rising Star Awards.
In Rio, De Grasse showed signs that he may be the future of sprinting after Bolt hangs up his spikes. At 21-years-old he already boasts three Olympic medals; one silver (200m) and two bronze (100m and 4x100m relay).
Thiam, on the other hand, did what many have failed to do over the last decade and that is to dethrone Jessica Ennis-Hill as the queen of the heptathlon. The young Belgian put in an almost flawless performance across seven events in Rio to prove that athletics had a brand new star.
Elsewhere, the IAAF Coaching Achievement Award was given to Harry Marra who guided Ashton Eaton to a second Olympic decathlon gold medal. As if that wasn’t enough he also coached Brianne Theisen-Eaton to another podium finish.
There were also wins for legendary Greek middle distance champion, Polyxeni Argeitaki who received the IAAF Women in Athletics Award. Furthermore, the IAAF President’s Award was given to Tegla Loroupe who played a key role as Chef de Mission for the Refugee Olympic team.Published 05 Dec 2016, 22:54 IST