Usain, Elaine up for awards

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS - An­dré Lowe Spe­cial Projects Ed­i­tor – Sports

Key week­end for IA AF’s fu­ture

MONTE CARLO, Monaco: RACK AND FIELD’S global au­thor­ity, the IAAF, will to­day hand out awards to the year’s top male and fe­male ath­letes amid a com­ing to­gether of the sport’s hi­er­ar­chy, which is also ex­pected to bring with

Tit con­sid­er­able change to­wards re­pair­ing a dam­aged or­gan­i­sa­tion. Ja­maicans Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson are up for the re­spec­tive male and fe­male Ath­lete of the Year awards, but by the end of the week, its likely to be IAAF pres­i­dent Se­bas­tian Coe who leaves the principality with the big­gest prize of all – trust. Coe in­her­ited an or­gan­i­sa­tion on the brink of a to­tal break­down, fol­low­ing a mas­sive dop­ing scan­dal and the un­cov­er­ing of con­spir­a­cies at the high­est level of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, a cri­sis that has led to crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings against sev­eral for­mer top IAAF fig­ures, in­clud­ing long-stand­ing pres­i­dent Lamine Di­ack, and the sus­pen­sion of Rus­sian ath­letes fol­low­ing ev­i­dence of state­backed dop­ing. After en­dur­ing a tor­rid year in the hot seat as the new IAAF boss, Coe arrived in Monaco hop­ing to re­ceive the rub­ber stamp for the 150point re­form pack­age that he be­lieves will not only re­turn cred­i­bil­ity to the sport and the or­gan­i­sa­tion but also en­sure best prac­tices in terms of ad­min­is­tra­tion and gov­er­nance, while sig­nif­i­cantly in­creas­ing the com­mer­cial and mar­ket­ing weight be­hind the sport. Coun­cil mem­bers will vote on Coe’s pro­posal, which in­cludes de­vo­lu­tion of pres­i­den­tial power, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of an in­de­pen­dent in­tegrity unit, which will man­age dop­ing and non-dop­ing in­tegrity is­sues and a new fi­nan­cial struc­ture, at a spe­cial congress to­mor­row, and by all in­di­ca­tions, he is ex­pected to get the back­ing of his peers, with the Ath­letes’ Com­mis­sion and sev­eral in­flu­en­tial mem­ber fed­er­a­tions also throw­ing their sup­port be­hind the plan.

Be­fore that hap­pens, how­ever, the ath­let­ics world will come to­gether to cel­e­brate its ‘top-of-the-class’ ath­letes, with Bolt and Thompson among a top field of fi­nal­ists, which is com­pleted by South African Wayde van Niek­erk and Bri­tain’s Mo Farah for the male award, and Ethiopia’s Al­maz Ayana and Poland’s Anita Wlo­dar­czyk join­ing Thompson in the run­ning for the top fe­male award.

COULD BAG SIXTH TI­TLE

Bolt, who al­ready holds the record for most wins by a man or woman for the Ath­lete of the Year award, can push his tally to six, after his suc­cesses in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Him be­com­ing the first ath­let­ics com­peti­tor to win three gold medals at three suc­ces­sive Olympic Games is in it­self a strong claim, but with the yearhigh­light­ing Rio 2016 Olympic Games also be­ing his last in a sport-defin­ing ca­reer, the Ja­maican may very well also be able to count on the emo­tional vote.

Van Niek­erk’s 43.03 sec­onds goldmedal run in Rio shat­tered a 17-year record in the 400m and also clocked a 9.98 in the 100m to be­come the first man in his­tory to run faster than 10 sec­onds for 100m, 20 sec­onds for 200m, and 44 sec­onds for 400m.

Farah, like Bolt, con­tin­ued his Olympic reign, again win­ning the 5000m and 10,000m in Rio.

Thompson es­tab­lished her­self as the new queen of the sprints, go­ing un­beaten in the 100m, while tak­ing the sprint dou­ble in Rio, with her win­ning 100m time of 10.71 be­ing the sec­ond fastest in an Olympic 100m fi­nal. She also won silver in the 4x100m and bronze in the 60m at the world in­doors.

Both her ri­vals will take world record marks into the con­sid­er­a­tions.

Ayana ran 29:17.45 to set a new 10,000m mark on her way to win­ning gold in Rio, knock­ing off a record that stood for 23 years, while tak­ing Olympic bronze plus the Di­a­mond Race ti­tle over 5000m.

Ham­mer thrower Wlo­dar­czyk reg­is­tered three of the five best marks ever in her event on her way to win­ning gold and twice broke the record this year, even­tu­ally land­ing the im­ple­ment 82.98m to close her sea­son un­beaten in 30 fi­nals, with the Euro­pean ti­tle and the IAAF World Ham­mer Throw Chal­lenge tro­phy also on her man­tle.

Awards will also be pre­sented to the top ris­ing stars in the sport, with spe­cial fo­cus and recog­ni­tion also in place for coach­ing achieve­ment and women in ath­let­ics.

THOMPSON

BOLT

COE

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