Bolt, Gatlin left off shortlist for best athlete

Jamaica's Usain Bolt and the USA's Justin Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, were left off the list of nominees for the IAAF's World Athlete of the Year awards.

Usain Bolt's omission has raised many an eyebrow.   -  AP

Controversial world 100-metre champion Justin Gatlin was left off the list of nominees for the IAAF's World Athlete of the Year awards.

Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, was a surprise winner of the 100m in London in August as Jamaican great Usain Bolt bowed out of his top-class career with a disappointing bronze medal.

When the IAAF named on Monday its 10 male and female nominees for the 2017 awards, Bolt and Gatlin weree noticeable absentees.

It is the first time since 2004 -- when Gatlin was also omitted -- that the world or Olympic 100m champion has been left off the list.

While Bolt's omission raised eyebrows, Gatlin's omission comes as no surprise, though, as the IAAF changed its rules in 2015 to exclude from its list anyone who has ever been sanctioned for a serious doping offence.

That came after Germany's Olympic discus champion Robert Harding asked for his own name to be removed from the list in protest at Gatlin's inclusion in 2014.

The 2017 list is led by British 10,000m world champion Mo Farah and South Africa's 400m star Wayde van Niekerk.

The women's list includes comeback queen Sally Pearson of Australia, the 100m hurdles champion, and South Africa's Caster Semenya, the winner of the 800m.

Nominees

Men

Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) high jump; Pawel Fajdek (POL) hammer; Mo Farah (GBR) 10,000m; Sam Kendricks (USA) pole vault; Elijah Manangoi (KEN) 1,500m; Luvo Manyonga (RSA) long jump; Omar McLeod (JAM) 110m hurdles; Christian Taylor (USA) triple jump; Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) 400m; Johannes Vetter (GER) javelin.

Women: Almaz Ayana (ETH) 10,000m; Maria Lasitskene (RUS - competing as a neutral) high jump; Hellen Obiri (KEN) 5,000m; Sally Pearson (AUS) 100m hurdles; Sandra Perkovic (CRO) discus; Brittney Reese (USA) long jump; Caster Semenya (RSA) 800m; Ekaterini Stefanidi (GRE) pole vault; Nafissatou Thiam (BEL) heptathlon; Anita Wlodarczyk (POL) hammer.

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