11/25/2017 12:40:06 AM

Qatar's Barshim named world athlete of the year


Monaco, Principality of Monaco: Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim was named the IAAF's male athlete of the year on Friday.

Belgium's heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam won the corresponding honour in the female category.

World champion Barshim, an Aspire Academy product, succeeds retired Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt. He claimed the title from a shortlist comprising Britain's long-distance star Mo Farah and South Africa's 400m champion Wayde Van Niekerk.

Barshim 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.

Thiam, who won heptathlon gold at the Olympics and worlds in London, beat off competition from Ethiopia's 10,000m Olympic champion Almaz Ayana and Greek pole vault star Ekaterini Stefanidi.

The men's and women's finalists were whittled down from an original list of 10 by a vote of IAAF council members, fans and fellow athletes.

At the awards ceremony in Monaco Bolt was awarded the president's prize.

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