World champion Sally Pearson has been named as one of ten female finalists in the 2017 IAAF World Athlete of the Year Awards.
Pearson’s extraordinary comeback to claim her second world 100m hurdles title in London in August sealed her place in Australian sporting folklore. The 30-year-old had missed the previous two years because of injury, with a broken wrist and subsequent hamstring problems that shut down her 2016 Rio Olympic campaign.
She followed her world title win with victory in the IAAF Diamond League Final in Zurich.
Pearson said it was nice to be back on the big stage at the IAAF awards after so many setbacks.
“There have been many struggles behind the scenes which makes moments like this all the more significant. I am truly honoured and proud to be selected as finalist, and to represent Australia at the IAAF Awards,” Pearson said.
Pearson is no stranger to the podium at the IAAF awards, winning the prestigious Female Athlete of the Year title following her debut world title win in Daegu in 2011.
The awards will be presented at the IAAF Athletics Awards gala in Monaco on Friday 24th November with Pearson up against a strong line-up of fellow world champions.
1. Almaz Ayana (ETH) – 5000m/10000m
2. Maria Lasitskene (ANA) – High Jump
3. Hellen Obiri (KEN) – 5000m
4. Sally Pearson (AUS) - 100m Hurdles
5. Sandra Perkovic (CRO) – Discus
6. Brittney Reese (USA)– Long Jump
7. Ekaterini Stefanidi (GRE) – Pole Vault
8. Nafissatou Thiam (BEL) – Heptathlon
9. Caster Semenya (RSA) – 800m/1500m
10. Anita Wiodarczyk (POL) – Hammer
Pearson’s second world title added another layer to her already impressive resume. She won a breakout silver in the 100m hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, followed by gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. She went on to win the next two global 100m hurdles titles at the 2011 world championships and the 2012 London Olympics, as well as gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, a title she aims to defend at her home Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next April.
Athletics Australia head coach Craig Hilliard says Pearson deserves her place among the greats. “That’s one of the greatest comebacks in Australian history,” he said.
Athletics Australia chief executive officer Darren Gocher described Pearson as an “incredible competitor”.
“To do what she has done is remarkable. She’s a fantastic ambassador for athletics and for next year’s Commonwealth Games in her hometown of the Gold Coast.”
This global nomination will also sit alongside her current Australian nomination for ‘The Don’ Award, to be announced at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame dinner on Thursday 12 October.
The ten women were joined by ten men selected by an international panel of athletics experts, comprising representatives from all six continental areas of the IAAF. The men’s finalists are:
Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) – High Jump
Pawel Fajdek (POL) – Hammer
Mohamed Farah (GBR) – 5000m/10000m
Sam Kendricks (USA) – Pole Vault
Elijah Manangoi (KEN) – 1500m
Luvo Manyonga RSA) – Long Jump
Omar McLeod (JAM) – 110m Hurdles
Christian Taylor (USA) – Triple Jump
Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) – 400m
Johannes Vetter (GER) - Javelin
A three-way voting process will determine the finalists. The IAAF Council and the IAAF Family will cast their votes by email, while fans can vote online via the IAAF's social media platforms. Individual graphics for each nominee will be posted on the IAAF Facebook and Twitter later this week; a 'like' or 'favourite' will count as one vote.
The IAAF Council’s vote will count for 50% of the result, while the IAAF Family’s votes and the public votes will each count for 25% of the final result.
Voting closes on 16 October. At the conclusion of the voting process, three men and three women finalists will be announced by the IAAF.
The male and female World Athletes of the Year will be announced live on stage at the IAAF Athletics Awards.