Tirunesh Dibaba crosses the line ahead of Elvan Abeylegesse to replicate the 1-2 from the 10,000m (Getty Images) © Copyright
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2008 Athletes of the Year Finalists - Spotlight on Bekele and Dibaba

CarloFollowing the poll of the IAAF Family and the votes of the Internet fans, the IAAF has selected the three male and three female finalists who are still in the running to become the 2008 World Athlete of the Year.

Finalists are: (in alphabetical order)

Men
Kenenisa Bekele  ETH
Usain Bolt   JAM 
Dayron Robles  CUB

Women
Tirunesh Dibaba  ETH
Yelena Isinbayeva  RUS
Pamela Jelimo  KEN 
 
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26-year-old Kenenisa Bekele this year became a double Olympic champion and World Cross Country champion. In Beijing the Ethiopian became only the sixth man ever to achieve the Olympic 5000/10,000m double.

Kenenisa Bekele’s credentials

- Has won two gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games at 5000 & 10,000m
- Has set two Olympic records at the Beijing Olympic Games
- Has won his sixteenth World Cross Country gold medal
- Has set the fastest times in the world this year at 3000, 5000 and 10,000m to remain undefeated through 2008

23-year-old Tirunesh Dibaba this year became a double Olympic champion and World Cross Country champion. In Beijing, the Ethiopian became the first woman ever to achieve the Olympic 5000/10,000m double, and in Oslo earlier in the year broke the 5000m World record.

Tirunesh Dibaba’s credentials

- Has won two gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games at 5000 & 10,000m
- Has broken the 5000m World record in Oslo
- Has set an Olympic 10,000m record and the second fastest ever at the distance
- Has won her fourth World Cross Country individual gold medal
- Has remained undefeated throughout 2008

The winners of the 2008 World Athlete of the Year Awards will be announced live, on stage, during the 2008 World Athletics Gala, which will take place in Monaco, on 23 November 2008.

Tomorrow, Bolt and Isinbayeva, will be the contenders in the spotlight, with Robles and Jelimo's years profiled on Thursday.