Montsho sprints at a homeland first

2011-10-08 19:48

World 400m champion Amantle Montsho this week became the next hopeful candidate from Africa’s southern region to be nominated for the IAAF Athlete of the Year.

Retired South African high jumper Hestrie Cloete won the award in 2003.

Montsho, the 28-year-old sprinter from Botswana is one of the 20 candidates – consisting of 10 men and women each – on a list released by the world athletics governing body this week.

Apart from being crowned the world champion in Daegu – a first for Botswana – Montsho has had a near-flawless year – she has made more than R1 million in incentives. Of the 11 IAAF races she ran so far this year, Montsho won seven and was runner-up in two meets.

She wrapped up her campaign with a Diamond League victory and a title defence at the All Africa Games in Mozambique last month. But Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot is the odds-on favourite in the group that is dominated by the American and Russian nominees.

The 28-year-old Cheruiyot is unbeaten over any distance this year and she clinched double gold in the 5 000m and 10 000m at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last month.

She also defended her Diamond League title in the 5 000m race.

Montsho, who is based at the IAAF High Performance Centre in Dakar, Senegal, could not be reached as her mobile phone was constantly on voicemail and she did not respond to SMSes either.

Other Africans who have been nominated are 800m world champ David Rudisha and Patrick Makau. Rudisha won the best athlete last year.

The Kenyan duo have been pitted against Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.

The winner will be crowned at the awards ceremony in Monaco on November 12. 

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