Justin Gatlin not among IAAF Athlete of the Year award finalists

Justin Gatlin
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Justin Gatlin was not voted a finalist for the World Athlete of the Year, following criticism over his original nomination two weeks ago due to his doping past.

Gatlin was scrutinized for his inclusion on a 10-man candidate list announced Oct. 3 since he was banned four years for taking performance-enhancing drugs in 2006.

The men’s award finalists announced Friday were Qatar high jumper Mutaz Barshim, Kenyan marathon runner Dennis Kimetto and French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie.

The finalists were determined by an email poll of track and field officials that closed Thursday. The winners will be announced Nov. 21 after an IAAF council decision.

This season, Gatlin went undefeated over 100m and 200m and was the world’s fastest man in both distances. He never raced against Usain Bolt in 2014.

Barshim this season moved up from being tied as the fifth highest high jumper in history to alone at No. 2 behind world-record holder Javier Sotomayor. He took several attempts at breaking Sotomayor’s world record.

Kimetto broke the world record in the marathon in Berlin on Sept. 28.

In February, Lavillenie broke Sergey Bubka‘s nearly 21-year-old world record in the pole vault.

Two weeks ago, German Olympic discus champion Robert Harting asked for his name to be taken off the 10-man candidate list due to the inclusion of an athlete previously banned for doping (it wasn’t, but he wasn’t a favorite to be a finalist anyway).

IAAF vice president Seb Coe said he had “big problems” with Gatlin’s name being on the 10-man list.

The women’s finalists are New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams, Ethiopian middle distance runner Genzebe Dibaba and Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers.

None of the six men’s and women’s finalists has won an IAAF Athlete of the Year award before.

The 2013 finalists were Bolt (winner), British distance runner Mo Farah and Ukrainian high jumper Bohdan Bondarenko and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (winner), Czech Republic 400m hurdler Zuzana Hejnova and Adams.

Bolt, who won the IAAF World Athlete of the Year Award in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, was not on the 10-man candidates list after he ran a total of 400m in an injury-shortened season.

This is Adams’ fourth straight year as a finalist.

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