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Guide To The World Athletics Awards 2021

With just two days to go until the World Athletics Awards 2021, the spotlight shifts to the annual celebration honouring the world’s best athletes whose achievements helped contribute to another unforgettable year for the sport.

This year’s awards ceremony, which will be staged as a virtual event on Wednesday 1 December, will be a celebration of the sport, also honouring and recognising organisations and individuals from around the world in what has been another memorable and sometimes challenging year.

Ten awards will be presented at the World Athletics Awards 2021, which will begin at 6pm CET (GMT+1) on Wednesday 1st December 2021 and be streamed live on the World Athletics YouTube channel and Facebook page.

The ceremony will be hosted by marathon great Paula Radcliffe and long jump star Jazmin Sawyers.

World Athletes of the Year

The most eagerly-anticipated of the 10 awards will be Female and Male World Athlete of the Year, recognising the top-performing athletes of 2021.

A three-way voting process – split between the World Athletics Council, the World Athletics Family, and the worldwide community of athletics fans – determined the five female and five male finalists.

This year’s female finalists:
• Sifan Hassan, Netherlands
• Faith Kipyegon, Kenya
• Sydney McLaughlin, USA
• Yulimar Rojas, Venezuela
• Elaine Thompson-Herah, Jamaica

And this year’s male finalists:  
• Joshua Cheptegei, Uganda
• Ryan Crouser, USA
• Mondo Duplantis, Sweden
• Eliud Kipchoge, Kenya
• Karsten Warholm, Norway

Over the past five days, World Athletics have published features on all 10:
• Sifan Hassan and Joshua Cheptegei
• Faith Kipyegon and Ryan Crouser
• Sydney McLaughlin and Mondo Duplantis
• Yulimar Rojas and Eliud Kipchoge
• Elaine Thompson-Herah and Karsten Warholm

Female and Male Rising Stars

These awards shine the spotlight on the top U20 athletes of the year. 

This year’s female nominees:
• Keely Hodgkinson, Great Britain
• Silja Kosonen, Finland
• Christine Mboma, Namibia
• Athing Mu, USA
• Zerfe Wondemagegn, Ethiopia

And this year’s male nominees:
• Sean Burrell, USA
• Erriyon Knighton, USA
• Emmanuel Wanyonyi, Kenya
• Tadese Worku, Ethiopia
• Sasha Zhoya, France

Who all also starred in a series of features:
• Keely Hodgkinson and Sean Burrell
• Silja Kosonen and Erriyon Knighton
• Christine Mboma and Emmanuel Wanyonyi
• Athing Mu and Tadese Worku
• Zerfe Wondemagegn and Sasha Zhoya

Coaching Achievement Award

Given to a coach who has helped athletes thrive.

Inspiration Award

This award will recognise an individual or group of individuals whose efforts have resulted in a particularly inspiring athletics event or experience.

Member Federations Award

First awarded last year, the Member Federation Award honours a national governing body that has gone above and beyond to serve its athletes, fans and the greater community.

The six nominees, listed alphabetically, are:
• Athletics Australia (AUS) – Oceania
• Athletics Kenya (KEN) – Africa
• Czech Athletic Federation (CZE) – Europe
• Federacion Costarricense de Atletismo (CRC) – North & Central America and the Caribbean
• Federacion Ecuatoriana de Atletismo (ECU) – South America
• Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JPN) – Asia

More about the Member Federation Award nominees.

Woman of the Year Award

Recognising a woman who has dedicated her life to the sport of athletics.

President’s Award

This award recognises and honours exceptional service to athletics.

Athletics Photograph of the Year

Awarded to the best athletics photograph of 2021, as decided by an expert panel of judges, who whittled down 112 entries to this year’s three finalists:
• Ryan Pierse, Getty Images
• Matthias Hangst, Getty Images
• Vegard Grott, Bildbyran

More about the Photograph of the Year finalists.

The full shortlist of 25 images can be seen in the online gallery on the World Athletics Awards 2021 website.