Photo above is of Kaliese Spencer in Zagreb in 2010. Photo credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Speedy Gonsales.
By Lincoln Depradine
Pride Contributing Writer
Just one Caribbean athlete, Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer, is named among the nominees for the IAAF’s 2014 World Athlete of the Year Award. Spencer, 27, specializes in the 400-meters hurdles.
Altogether, there are 20 nominees – 10 men and 10 women.
Spencer, whose mother and father were both track athletes, won two silver medals at this year’s IAAF World Indoor Championships in Poland; and a gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Others in the contest for female Athlete of the Year include Caterine Ibarguen – a Colombian competitor in high jump, long jump and triple jump; and Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, a middle- and long-distance runner.
However, the men’s list that includes three Africans – Dennis Kipruto Kimetto and Jairus Kipchoge Birech of Kenya and Botswana’s Nigel Amos – has ignited controversy with the nomination of Justin Gatlin, the 32-year-old American who has served two doping bans.
This summer, Gatlin ran the fastest 100 and 200 meters by a man in his thirties.
But his nomination has not gone down well with German Olympic discus champion Robert Harting and former UK Olympian Sebastian Coe, now a vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Harting, who himself is a nominee, reacted to Gatlin’s inclusion on the IAAF shortlist by asking for his own name to be removed from it.
In his reaction, Coe remarked: “The only thing I would say is he (Gatlin) is entitled to compete; but I’m not particularly comfortable about it (the nomination). I think you’d be surprised if I said I was sanguine about it.’’
Voting for the award is currently open to athletes, officials, IAAF member federations and media.
Winners are due to be announced on November 21 in Monaco.