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26 Nov 2007 12:11
American double world sprint champion Tyson Gay and Ethiopian distance runner Meseret Defar were named the 2007 World Athletes of the Year on Sunday.
Both athletes received a $100Â 000 cash award at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Athletics Gala.
Gay (25) won three gold medals at the Osaka world championships in last August, sweeping the 100m and 200m and running the third leg on the victorious 4x100m relay team.
In the 100m, Gay clocked 9,85, relegating world record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica to third. In the 200m, he clocked 19,76, beating Michael Johnson’s meeting record.
He was only the fourth athlete to collect three gold medals at a single world championships.
Defar (24) shattered her own world record in the 5Â 000m, clocking 14 minutes 16,63 seconds in Oslo in June, to lower her previous mark by more than eight seconds.
The current Olympic 5Â 000m champion, Defar also won the event in Osaka and twice lowered the world best for two miles.
“I don’t have words to describe how happy I am,” said Defar, who dedicated the award to women athletes in Ethiopia.
Powell and Croatia’s world high jump champion Blanka Vlasic received awards for the performances of the year. Powell broke his own world record in the 100m in September, clocking 9,74 seconds, while Vlasic, who won 18 of 19 competitions this year, was honoured for her 2,07m leap in Stockholm, which equalled the third highest jump ever outdoors.—Reuters
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