While sprinter Wayde van Niekerk has cracked the nod for the second year in a row, after being announced among the finalists on Monday for the IAAF World Athlete of the Year Awards, middle-distance runner Caster Semenya has been shown a cold shoulder.
Semenya, who remains at the centre of an ongoing gender controversy hanging over the sport, was among 10 nominees for the prestigious women’s accolade.
Her name was not listed among the three finalists, however, despite enjoying a spectacular campaign.
She earned two medals at the World Championships in London, shattered the 600m world best, went unbeaten for the second year in a row in the 800m event and won the Diamond League trophy.
In her absence, the list of finalists included Ethiopian distance runner Almaz Ayana, Greek pole vaulter Ekaterini Stefanidi and Belgian heptathlete Nafissatou Thiam.
Van Niekerk, who was also a finalist last year when Jamaican star Usain Bolt scooped the men’s accolade, was named alongside British distance runner Mo Farah and Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim.
The speedster from Bloemfontein produced a string of fine performances this season, retaining his 400m world title, taking silver in the 200m at the global championships and setting a world best over the 300m distance.
Long jump world champion Luvo Manyonga, who dominated his specialist event this season, missed out on the top three after being named among the nominees for the first time.
A three-way voting process determined the finalists, with the IAAF council, members and fans all getting a chance to pick from the list of nominees.
The award winners, to be announced at a gala ceremony in Monaco on November 24, will be selected by a panel of judges.
Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar)
Mo Farah (Great Britain)
Wayde van Niekerk (South Africa)
Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia)
Ekaterini Stefanidi (Greece)
Nafissatou Thiam (Belgium)