Ahead of next week’s IAAF Athletics Awards 2017 where the World Athletes of the Year will be announced, we revisit the achievements of the men’s finalists.
MUTAZ ESSA BARSHIM
The Qatari high jumper was one of the most consistent and dominant athletes of the year.
Starting with a 2.35m leap in Jeddah in April and ending with a 2.40m jump in Eberstadt in August, the 26-year-old pieced together an undefeated season across 11 competitions.
He won the world title in impressive fashion, clearing all of his heights up to his winning mark of 2.35m on his first attempt. One week after his triumph in London, he jumped a world-leading 2.40m in Birmingham and followed it four days later with a winning jump of 2.36m in Zurich to secure the IAAF Diamond League title. Barshim ended the 2017 season with nine of the best 11 jumps in the world this year, capped by his two 2.40m leaps. He is the first high jumper in history to leap 2.40m or higher in five successive years.
The British star secured a record 10th successive outdoor global distance-running title on the track and it was arguably his hardest-fought one to date. He was under pressure from three opponents on the final lap of the 10,000m at the World Championships but managed to secure victory in a world-leading 26:49.51, his fastest ever time in a championship final and just three seconds shy of his own European record.
His World Championships track career ended in the same way it started: with a silver medal. In a 5000m final that was every bit as competitive as the 10,000m earlier in the championships, Farah finished a close second to Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris.
Two weeks after the World Championships, Farah secured the IAAF Diamond League title at the distance in Zurich in another memorable finish, this time getting the better of Edris to end his track career on a high.
WAYDE VAN NIEKERK
The South African sprinter enjoyed another record-breaking year in 2017. Of all the athletes who competed in two disciplines at the IAAF World Championships, Van Niekerk came closest to achieving a double triumph.
He first retained his 400m title with relative ease, winning in 43.98. Two days later, contesting his sixth race within five days, he finished a close second in the 200m in 20.11, missing out on gold by just 0.02.
Earlier in the season he had set a world-leading mark of 43.62 for 400m, clocked a national record of 19.84 over 200m and achieved a 100m PB of 9.94. In so doing, he became the first athlete in history to run faster than 10 seconds for 100m, 20 seconds for 200m and 44 seconds for 400m within one season.
He also set a 300m world best of 30.81, breaking a mark that had stood for 17 years.
VOTING PROCEDURE FOR 2017 WORLD ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
A three-way voting process determined the finalists. The IAAF Council and the IAAF Family cast their votes by email, while fans voted online via the IAAF’s social media platforms. The IAAF Council’s vote counted for 50% of the result, while the IAAF Family’s votes and the public votes each counted for 25% of the final result. Voting closed on 16 October. The World Athletes of the Year will be announced live on stage at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2017 in Monaco on Friday 24 November.