Nafi Thiam among nominees for European Athlete of the Year

Belgium’s Nafi Thiam is among the 10 nominees for the European Athlete of the Year award, the European athletics federation announced on Friday.

The double Olympic and world heptathlon champion, who was unable to defend her title at this summer’s Budapest World Championships because of injury, won the European indoor pentathlon title in Istanbul in March, with a world record of 5,055 points.

However, the 29-year-old faces stiff competition from Femke Bol of the Netherlands, the world and European indoor champion in the 400m. She holds the world indoor record for the 400m and the European record for the 400m hurdles. She ran a spectacular final leg in Budapest in August to secure the Netherlands gold in the 4x400m relay.

Public vote via social media

The eight other candidates for the women’s title are Dutch middle distance runner Sifan Hassan, Great Britain’s 800m runner Keely Hodgkinson and heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Polish 800m runner Natalia Kaczmarek, Ukrainian high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh, Finnish pole vaulter Wilma Murto, Spanish race walk champion Maria Perez and Serbia’s Ivana Vuleta, a long jumper.

In the men’s competition, the world record holder in the pole vault, Sweden’s Armand Duplantis, has been nominated alongside Great Britain’s Matthew Hudson-Smith (400m) and Josh Kerr (1500m), Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen (1500/5000m) and Karsten Warholm (400m/400m hurdles), Spain's Alvaro Martin (race walk), Poland’s Wojciech Nowicki (hammer), Sweden’s Daniel Stahl (discus), Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi (high jump) and Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou (long jump).

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Public voting via social media counts for a quarter of the total vote and is open until 2 October on the European Athletics Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Last year’s title was won by Bol, with a first-ever tie in the men’s vote meaning Ingebrigtsen and Duplantis shared the men’s award. 

The ceremony will take place on 21 October in Vilnius, Lithuania, during the Golden Tracks event.

Earlier this month, Thiam was appointed a Grand Officer in the Order of Leopold, the highest civilian decoration that can be awarded in Belgium. King Philippe presented her with the medal of honour in recognition of her achievements in the pentathlon and heptathlon.


Nafi Thiam in action during the 2023 Meeting International d'Athletisme de la Province de Liege, 12 July 2023 © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

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