Monte-Carlo - During the celebrations of the World Athletics Gala hosted by International Athletic Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and IAF & IAAF President Lamine Diack in the Salle des Etoiles of the Sporting Club d’Eté Monte Carlo, 25-year-old American Tyson Gay and Ethiopia’s 24-year-old Meseret Defar were crowned as the male and female World Athletes of the Year.
A three-time World champion Tyson Gay, the 2007 Male World Athlete of the Year commented:
“To follow in Carl Lewis's footsteps (the first winner of the IAF Athlete of the Year) is just a great honour.
"I think for this year (winning the World Championships) makes me the fastest man in the world, but I honestly think that I need to have the World record like some of the other great sprinters like Carl Lewis, Maurice Greene. I think that sets you apart, having medals and having the world record."
Winner of all her races this season, including two World records and a World best, Meseret Defar, the 2007 Female World Athlete of the Year commented: “I don’t have words to describe how happy I am.
"This is very special for me. This is very special for Ethiopian women. Those who struggle very hard and who don't have very many opportunities to achieve the highest levels of athletics. So I dedicate this award to them."
The 2007 Performances of the Year award was presented to Asafa Powell for his World record breaking performance in Rieti and Blanka Vlasic for her 2.07m third all-time best clearance in Stockholm.
2007 World Athletics Gala Awards
World Athletes of the Year
Male Winner: Tyson Gay USA
Female Winner: Meseret Defar ETH
Performances of the Year
Male Winner Asafa Powell JAM
Female Winner Blanka Vlasic CRO
Hero of Athletics Award
Carl Lewis USA
Paula Radcliffe GBR
Haile Gebrselassie ETH
Newcomer of the Year
Donald Thomas BAH
Rising Star Award
Ruth Bisibori Nyangau KEN
Vitaly Petrov UKR