Photo: Almaz Ayana IAAF Female Athlete of the Year and Usain Bolt IAAF Male Athlete of the Year pose for photographs after receiving their respective awards in Monte Carlo on Friday Night. (SkySports)
Jamaica's Usain Bolt continued to his record breaking streak, snatching his sixth International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Male Athlete of the Year crown. He shared the nights spotlight with Ethiopia’s new distance running quee, Almaz Ayana at the athletes Gala held on Friday at the Sporting Monte Carlo.
Despite not having a spectacular season by his own standards, Bolt managed to hold off South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk and Great Britain’s Mo Farah in copping an unprecedented Olympic "triple triple" of 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100m relay gold medals at the Rio Games in August 2016.
The nine time Olympic champion clocked a 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 seconds in the 4x100m relay.
In his post award remarks Bolt revealed that "this one feels just like the first crown he won in 2008."
"It's definitely a big deal. When you get to be athlete of the year it means that all the hard work has paid off, so if I can win it for a sixth year, it means as much as the first one."
His other awards came in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Almaz Ayana joined a duo of Ethiopian woman in to have won the IAAF award, following Genzebe Dibaba (2015) and Meseret Defar (2007).
The 25 year old produced a scintillating run en route to a glorious 10,000-metres crown, erasing a world record that had stood for 23 years by over fourteen seconds.
Her winning time of 29 minutes, 17.45 seconds smashed the mark of 29:31.78 that was set by Wang Junxia of China in 1993.
She also secured the bronze medal in the 5000m, her only loss of the year over that distance.
Her victory on the night came ahead of Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, double sprint gold medalist and Poland’s Hammer Throw Anita Włodarczyk (Gold medal and WR in Rio).
Other sectional awards on the night went to Canada's Andre de Grasse and Belgium’s Olympic heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam who won the Male and Female "Rising Stars" Awards.
Harry Marra won the IAAF Coaching Achievement Award for his work with USA’s Ashton Eaton who won his second Olympic decathlon gold and Canada’s Brianne Theisen Eaton in securing Olympics heptathlon bronze.