The Kenyan 800m runner David Rudisha and Croatian high jumper Blanka Vlasic have won the IAAF World Athlete of the Year awards. The 21-year-old Rudisha became the youngest athlete ever to win the award and succeeded Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt yesterday after breaking Wilson Kipketer's 13-year-old world record twice within eight days in August.
Bolt missed the latter part of the season because of tightness in his lower back and was not nominated.
Rudisha clocked 1 minute 41.01 seconds in the two-lap race in August, shaving 0.08 seconds off the mark he set in Berlin the week before. "I knew when I broke the record there was a possibility I would be rewarded with this award and it's now a dream come true," Rudisha said. The Dane Kipketer set the old record of 1:41.11 in 1997.
Vlasic won the world indoor championships and was also crowned European champion high jumper this year. She won 18 out of 20 competitions in 2010 and posted a season's best of 2.05m.
Rudisha and Vlasic each defeated four other candidates on shortlists voted for by nearly 1,800 athletes, officials and journalists. Both will receive $100,000, despite the IAAF considering this week whether to cancel the bonuses because of its ongoing financial problems.
"I can guarantee they will receive their cheques," said IAAF president Lamine Diack.Reuse content