World Athletics (WA) announced the nominees for the Women’s Athlete of the Year 2023, but surprisingly, the name of Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan, the 100m hurdles record holder, was absent from the list.
Amusan, who holds the titles of Nigeria, Africa, and Commonwealth champion in the 100m hurdles, made history last year by becoming the first Nigerian athlete to be nominated for this prestigious award. Although she managed to reach the final five, she ultimately lost to Sydeny McLaughlin, the then World 400m hurdles champion and record holder.
Due to Amusan’s inability to successfully defend her world title at the Budapest 2023 World Championships, which was compounded by the emotional turmoil caused by her provisional suspension for three Whereabouts Failures, it was evident that her victorious Diamond League defense would not be sufficient to secure a place among the nominees announced by World Athletics.
The list of 11 nominees is led by five world record breakers, with Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, the World 1500m and 5000m champion, taking the forefront. Kipyegon set three world records in 2023 in the 1500m, one mile, and 5000m. Other notable nominees include Tigist Assefa from Ethiopia, who established a world marathon record and won the Berlin Marathon, Femke Bol from the Netherlands, who set a world indoor record in the 400m flat and claimed the world title in the 400m hurdles, and Maria Perez, the world champion in the 20km and 35km race walk events, who also set a world record in the 35km race walk.
Completing the list of nominees is Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, who holds a world record in the 5000m event after defeating Kipyegon during the Diamond League final in Eugene, Oregon, USA, where Tsegay also emerged as the world 10,000m champion.
The remaining nominees include Shericka Jackson from Jamaica, the world 200m champion and double sprint Diamond League winner, Haruka Kitaguchi from Japan, the world and Diamond League javelin champion, Yaroslava Mahuchikh, who secured the high jump title in Budapest and Eugene, Yulimar Rojas, the world and Diamond League triple champion, Sha’Carri Richardson from the United States, who won the 100m title at the Worlds, and Winfred Yavi from the Bahamas, who claimed the 3000m steeplechase title in Budapest and Eugene.