Bahamian superstar quarter-miler Steven “Speedy Stevie” Gardiner had a superb 2019, but it was not enough as he missed out on being a finalist in the World Athletics Male World Athlete of the Year 2019 award.
World Athletics, formerly the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), released the five finalists on Monday, November 11. They include last year’s winner Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, marathon runner; Uganda’s long-distance runner Joshua Cheptegei; American pole vault specialist Sam Kendricks; American sprinter Noah Lyles; and 400-meter hurdler Norwegian Karsten Warholm.
The announcement for the Male World Athlete of the Year will be made on Saturday, November 23 at the World Athletics Awards in Monaco.
Gardiner, the Bahamian national record holder in the 400 meters (m) and 200m, was announced as a nominee for Male World Athlete of the Year back on October 14.
The World Athletics Council and World Athletics casted their votes by email, while fans voted online via the World Athletics’ social media platforms. The council’s vote counted for 50 percent of the result, while the World Athletics votes and the public votes each counted for 25 percent of the final result.
Voting for the Male World Athlete of the Year closed on November 4.
The Abaconian closed out his perfect 2019 season as the world champion in the men’s 400m race, when he crossed the finishing line in 43.48 seconds, the sixth fastest of all time, at the just completed International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Doha, Qatar on October 4. The silver medal was won by Anthony Jose Zambrano of Colombia and American Fred Kerley won the bronze medal.
He dedicated that race to the people who were affected by Hurricane Dorian.
Gardiner completed an undefeated season but it certainly doesn’t get any easier for the new world champion. World record holder Van Niekerk is set to make a return to the Olympics next year. American Michael Norman, who is still the world leader, should be back in top form as well. Both are ahead of Gardner on the all-time list. As mentioned, Van Niekerk is the world record holder and defeated Gardiner at the 2017 London World Championships. Norman clocked a world-leading time of 43.45 seconds this year, tying him as the fourth-fastest ever with fellow American Jeremy Wariner.
Gardiner will go into the 2020 Olympics as one of the favorites for the men’s 400m title. The Olympics Games is set for July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo, Japan.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism
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