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Why Caster, Wayde and Luvo Deserve To Run Away With The IAAF Athlete Of The Year Award

South African athletics will be on the verge of global domination and actually fulfil our potential as athletics giants.

03/10/2017 13:10 SAST | Updated 10/10/2017 12:48 SAST
Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters
South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk celebrates winning 400m gold at the World Athletics Championships in London, UK, in August 2017.

This year continues to be a marvellous one for South African athletics. Three of our athletes have the chance to make history by winning IAAF Athlete of the Year at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2017 in Monaco on Friday, November 24.

On Tuesday, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced the nominees for the men's and women's world athlete of the year, with Caster Semenya, Wayde van Niekerk and Luvo Manyonga all in contention to win the prestigious award.

READ: 'South African Athletics Is Alive, And That's a Fact' -- Caster Semenya's Not Wrong

If Semenya wins the women's award, she will be the first South African woman in 14 years to do so. If Van Niekerk or Manyonga wins the men's, it'll be the first time a male athlete from South Africa has won it.

READ: Timeline: The Evolution Of Athletics In South Africa Over The Past 10 Years

South African athletics will be on the verge of global domination and could fulfil the country's potential to be an athletics giant. Here's why we think all three nominees deserve to run away with the award.

Phil Noble / Reuters

Caster Semenya

Semenya made history in August, when she scooped the gold medal in the 800m of the IAAF Championship in London.

READ: Caster Semenya Is Gold, And South African Athletes Have The World's Attention

She defended her 800m title and ran her lifetime best with a time of 1:55:16. She won her second medal in the championship and claimed her first gold in an IAAF Championship as she reigned supreme.

In 2016, she won an Olympic gold medal in the 800m -- just to remind critics of her greatness.

Semenya continues to raise the bar and is solidifying her place as the best female 800m runner. She might have made personal history, but her personal achievement elevates the pride of South Africa and athletics.

Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters

Wayde van Niekerk

Van Niekerk gave an emotional interview in August after winning gold in the 400m and silver in the 200m at the IAAF Championship in London. He broke down in tears and said he "deserved" what he had achieved in the championship.

READ: 5 Reasons Why Wayde Van Niekerk Is Becoming A National Treasure

Van Niekerk ran six races in six days.

"There have been quite a lot of people that felt I didn't deserve it, I'm glad I could come out today and put out a good fight. I really believe this is just the beginning," he said.

He defended his IAAF title, cruising to victory in 43.98 seconds and proving to critics that he is a deserved champion.

READ: The BBC Downplayed Wayde Van Niekerk's Medals And South Africans Were Having None Of It

With Usain Bolt out of the picture since his retirement, this is the perfect opportunity for Van Niekerk to begin his new reign as the world's next global athletics star.

He's already on the road to becoming South Africa's greatest sporting star. South Africans are becoming accustomed to Van Niekerk winning gold in every race he competes in. He flies the flag high and continues to personify the rewards of training hard.

PA Wire/PA Images

Luvo Manyonga

Manyonga overcame drug addiction to win a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics in the men's long jump. In 2017, he went one up and won gold in the IAAF Championships in London, becoming the new king of the long jump event.

Gallo Images via Getty Images

South Africans are beaming with pride and we wish all three of our athletes the best of luck for the IAAF Athlete of the Year Award.