International Athletic Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Sanya Richards, Asafa Powell, IAF & IAAF President Lamine Diack (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Powell and Richards are the 2006 World Athletes of the Year

MonteCarloAsafa Powell of Jamaica and Sanya Richards of the USA have been awarded the titles of 2006 World Athletes of the Year along with a cheque for $100,000 each at the prestigious 2006 World Athletics Gala in the Salle des Etoiles of the Sporting Club d’Eté, Monte-Carlo, Sunday 12 November.

Tonight’s edition of the annual global awards ceremony for Athletics was hosted by International Athletic Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and IAF & IAAF President Lamine Diack, in the presence of 600 distinguished guests from all branches of the athletics family.

Both Powell and Richards are IAAF Overall World Ranked number ones, and this season won shares of the IAAF Golden League Jackpot. Powell sped to a record (12) sub-10 second wind legal clockings for 100m including twice equalling his own World record (9.77), while Richards took 15 straight victories at 400m including breaking the 22-year-old American record with 48.70 to become the seventh fastest woman of all-time.

On receiving the award:

Asafa Powell, the 2006 Male World Athlete of the Year commented:

“Last year I wanted to win this title but I didn’t because I got injured. This year I worked hard and I’m thankful to get this award. It is a major accomplishment to realize that people recognize the hard work that I put in the sport and they actually vote for me. Next year, I’ll work even harder and hopefully win the World title.”

“Zürich is definitely the best memory of my 2006 season. It’s a race that I won’t forget. Brussels is also another good moment, I know it would have been another World record if I hadn’t had such a bad start.”

Sanya Richards, the 2006 Female World Athlete of the Year commented:

“I was so excited when I found out that I was the Athlete of the Year. This is more than just the icing on the cake.”

“My two favourite memories of the year are when I broke the American record at the very last meeting of the season. I actually thought it wasn’t going to happen this year. And my second best memory was in Berlin when I won the race and managed to remain undefeated in the whole 6 meetings of the Golden League.”

The other awards presented this evening were as follows:

Performance of the Year

Liu Xiang (CHN) for running 12.88 at the IAAF Super Grand Prix in Lausanne to become the outright holder of the 110m Hurdles World record

Meseret Defar (ETH) for breaking the 5000m World record in New York City

Distinguished Career Award

Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR)
Stefka Kostadinova (BUL)

Jan Zelezny (CZE) - not present due to illness

Rising Star Award

Margus Hunt (EST)

Coaches’ Award

Woldemeskel Kostre (ETH)