The Star (Nairobi)

11 October 2012

Kenya: Olympic Champion Nominated for Award

World 800m record holder and Olympic champion David Rudisha has been nominated for 2012 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Athlete of the Year Award.

Rudisha won the title in 2010 before losing it to Jamaican Usain Bolt last year. Rudisha faces tough competition from a host of a host of runners including triple gold medallist and record holder Bolt, his compatriot Yohan Blake (100m and 200m), United States' Ashton Eaton (decathlon), Great Britain's Mohamed Farah (5,000m and 10,000m) and German Robert Harting (discuss).

Others are Grenada's Kirani James (400m), France's Renaud Lavillenie (pole vault) and United States' Aries Merritt (110m hurdles) and compatriot Christian Taylor (triple jump).

Bolt won the title in 2008, 2009 and 2011 and this is Rudisha's third time to be nominated. Kenya missed out on the Female Athlete of the Year category with double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot controversially losing out to Australian hurdler Sally Pearson.

But while Cheruiyot will not be in the race for the top IAAF award, Pearson is still in the running. She will battle it out with Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba, who won the Olympic Games 10,000mm title; New Zealand's Valerie Adams, Jessica Ennis (heptathlon/Britain), United States' Allyson Felix (200m) and Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (100m and 200m).

Others are- Russia's Yelena Lashmanova (20km race walking-Russia), USA's Brittney Reese (long jump) and compatriot Sanya Richard-Ross (400m-USA)

An email poll involving the World Athletics Family began on Monday and will close on October 28. At the conclusion of the voting process, three male and three female finalists will be selected and announced by the IAAF.

The Council of the International Athletic Foundation will then select the male and female winners from the finalists with the announcement taking place during a special ceremony in Barcelona, during the 2012 Centenary Celebrations, on November 24.

Elsewhere, Aviva will not renew its 13-year sponsorship of British athletics despite the sport's increased profile following the Olympic successes of Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis, the insurer said yesterday.

The deal expires at the end of the year. UK Athletics has not named a replacement, but recent media reports suggested the sport was looking to increase its revenues by doing deals with a range of partners, rather than one exclusive sponsor.

The new agreement will be a test of the commercial appeal of sports like athletics on the back of a highly successful Olympics staged in London.

The current agreement was reported to be worth around 8 million pounds (Sh1.1bn) per year, although Aviva has not confirmed the figure.

Aviva said its funding for the sport from grassroots level onwards had helped to develop athletes like heptathlete Ennis and Paralympic sprinter Jonnie Peacock, another gold medallist in London this year.

"The sponsorship has also enabled us to build awareness of the Aviva brand among the millions of sporting fans across the UK and we feel now is the right time to pass on the baton to another organisation," said Aviva's Chief Marketing Officer, Amanda Mackenzie.

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