Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam has every chance of being elected Female European Athlete of the Year for 2017. The European Athletic Association (EAA) announced on Twitter on Wednesday that the world heptathlon champion was one of four finalists for the title. Thiam (23) is also among 10 athletes shortlisted on Tuesday by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) for the World Athlete of the Year title.
In addition to her world title in London, the first won by a Belgian, Nafi Thiam has also become the third best athlete in history in her discipline, tallying 7,013 points at the Götzis Heptathlon on May 27 and 28. The athlete, who hails from Namur, was unbeaten this year in a multiple-event competition and also won the European indoor pentathlon in Belgrade in March.
The EAA had published a list of 10 athletes in mid-September, reducing it to four on Wednesday. All four won world titles in London this summer. The three others are high-jumper Maria Lasitskene, a Russian who competes under neutral flag, pole-vaulter Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece, and hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland.
The EAA will announce the name of the winner at its gala on Saturday October 14 in Vilnius, Lithuania. Last year’s laureate was Spain’s Ruth Beitia, Olympic high-jump champion at 37. Nafissatou Thiam obtained the Rising Star prize in 2016.
No Belgian has ever won the title of European Athlete of the Year.
The name of the World Athlete of the Year will be revealed at the IAAF Gala in Monaco on November 24.