Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tyson Gay & Meseret Defar World Athletes of the Year for 2007

Tyson Gay (above, /photo by Paul Merca) was selected as the World Athlete of the Year for 2007, bolstered by his two individual victories in the 100 and 200 at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Osaka in August.

Monte-Carlo – During the celebrations of the World Athletics Gala on November 25th hosted by International Athletic Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and IAF & IAAF President Lamine Diack in the Salle des Etoiles of the Sporting Club d’Eté Monte Carlo, 25-year-old American Tyson Gay and Ethiopia’s 24-year-old Meseret Defar were crowned as the male and female World Athletes of the Year.

A three-time World champion Tyson Gay, the 2007 Male World Athlete of the Year commented:

“To follow in Carl Lewis's footsteps (the first winner of the IAF Athlete of the Year) is just a great honour.

"I think for this year (winning the World Championships) makes me the fastest man in the world, but I honestly think that I need to have the World record like some of the other great sprinters like Carl Lewis, Maurice Greene. I think that sets you apart, having medals and having the world record."

Winner of all her races this season, including two World records and a World best, Meseret Defar (#410, /photo by Paul Merca), the 2007 Female World Athlete of the Year commented: “I don’t have words to describe how happy I am.

"This is very special for me. This is very special for Ethiopian women. Those who struggle very hard and who don't have very many opportunities to achieve the highest levels of athletics. So I dedicate this award to them."

The 2007 Performances of the Year award was presented to Asafa Powell for his World record breaking performance in Rieti and Blanka Vlasic for her 2.07m (6-9 1/2) third all-time best clearance in Stockholm.

The IAAF media relations staff contributed to this report.

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