Barshim Could Steal Thunder at IAAF Awards

Barshim Could Steal Thunder at IAAF Awards
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Published November 24th, 2017 - 15:58 GMT via

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Mutaz Barshim
Mutaz Barshim

Can Mutaz Barshim upstage British distance running legend Sir Mohamed Farah and South African 400m and 200m ace Wayde Van Niekerk to win this year’s IAAF Athlete of the Year Award?

Qatar and the entire Arab world would be waiting in anticipation as the athletics’ world governing body decides on the prestigious honour at a gala ceremony in Monaco today.

While it is a tough call to predict who would walk away with the accolade, the genial but thoroughly professional Qatari stands a fair chance to etch his name in the pantheon of athletics immortals when the announcement is made.

The trio were shortlisted from an initial list of 10 athletes announced more than a month ago by the IAAF, which was later culled to just three.

Arguably, it’s a daunting list that would put the judges under extreme pressure but what works in Barshim’s favour is that he was unbeaten throughout the season.

The 26-year-old swept the high jump at all Diamond League competitions and then routed the competition to win the gold at the IAAF World Championships in London in August. If world domination is a criterion for the award then the judges needn’t look beyond the Qatari.

If Barshim wins the award, it will cap a dream year for the world high jump champion who also won the ANOC Best Athlete in Asia award last week in Prague.

The Qatari is already the world’s second best high jumper of all time. His best jump 2.43m is the second best in history, marginally behind Cuban great Javier Sotomayer’s world record of 2.45 set almost 25 years ago.

Farah, who was knighted this year, is the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history. He is the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medallist in both the 5,000m and 10,000m, and is the second athlete in modern Olympic Games history, after Lasse Vir.

© Gulf Times Newspaper 2017

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