Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana wins IAAF World Athlete of the Year award

Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana has been named the female World Athletes of the Year at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2016, held at Sporting Monte Carlo yesterday (Dec 02, 2016).

Almaz had a record-breaking year. After recording the fastest 10,000m debut in history in June, the Ethiopian went on to win the Olympic title at the distance in a world record of 29:17.45.

She added to her Olympic medal haul in Rio by taking bronze in the 5000m, her only loss of the year.

Having recorded three of the eight fastest times at 5000m, she ended the year as the Diamond Race winner for that discipline.

She becomes the third Ethiopian woman to win this award, following Genzebe Dibaba in 2015 and Meseret Defar in 2007.

"I don't have words to explain my feelings right now, I'm so excited," said Almaz whose award was presented by International Athletics Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. "Really, I'm so pleased."

Similarly Jamaica's Usain Bolt has been named the male World Athletes of the Year.

Bolt, who won the award five times between 2008 and 2013, added to his legacy by earning the trophy for a record sixth occasion.

The sprinting superstar this year successfully defended his Olympic titles in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, bringing his lifetime tally of Olympic gold medals to nine.

He clocked season's bests of 9.81 and 19.78 to win the 100m and 200m in Rio and then anchored the Jamaican team to a world-leading 37.27 when winning the 4x100m.

He also went undefeated throughout the whole season at all distances, including heats.