Monaco — Olympic champion and record holder, David Rudisha, has made the final shortlist for the IAAF World Athlete of the Year for the third year in a row.
World governing body IAAF announced on Monday that Rudisha, who won the prestigious award in 2010 and was a beaten finalist last year will return to the 2012 IAAF Centenary Gala on
November 24 where he will face Jamaican sprinting star Usain Bolt and American hurdler, Aries Merritt for the top crown.
The trio garnered the most votes during a three-week poll conducted among fellow athletes, Athletes Representatives, selected journalists, IAAF affiliates and the IAAF family.
Rudisha gave the London Olympics a performance to behold when without a pace maker, he attacked and mowed his previous men 800m world record ton 1:40.91 in no less than the final as he won his first gold following his Beijing heartache four years ago when injury ruled him out from the trials.
Although he lost his Diamond League crown to Ethiopian Mohammed Aman in his only defeat of the season in Zurich, Rudisha's Olympics performance has been hailed as the greatest 800m men's race in history since he hammered his own seemingly unreachable barrier of 1:41.01 set in Rieti in 2010 when he last won the top IAAF award.
Bolt on the other hand defended his three sprint titles from Beijing, the 100, 200 and 4X100m relay, although he did not break his own world record in either events.
Merritt capped a brilliant season when he was unstoppable in the high hurdles by winning both the Olympics and Diamond League crowns.
The gala ceremony will be held in Barcelona with the women finalists due to be announced soon.