Thiam in running to retain IAAF Female Athlete of the Year crown as finalists announced

Belgian heptathlete again shortlisted for awards which are announced in Monaco on 4 December.

The five female finalists for World Athlete of the Year 2018 have been announced by the governing body of athletics, the IAAF.

Belgian heptathlon hero Nafissatou Thiam won the title in 2017 and has again been shortlisted, while Colombian jumper Caterine Ibarguen is nominated for a fifth time.

Here's our look at the the five athletes in the running, who were determined by a three-way voting process including the IAAF Council, the IAAF Family, and fans voting online.

Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium returns to defend her IAAF Female Athlete of the Year award.

Treble-winning Dina Asher-Smith

The 22-year-old from Great Britain is included after becoming the first women from her nation to win gold over 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relays at the European Championship in August.

For those quick enough, the Rio 2016 relay bronze medallist also turned heads on the world stage.

She was the fastest women in the world this year over 100m and 200m, and helped England to sprint relay gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Asher-Smith finished second over 100m at the IAAF Diamond League final and the IAAF Continental Cup, and has already been crowned 2018 European Women’s Athlete of the Year.

Beatrice Chepkoech a model of consistency

It will be with happy memories that Beatrice Chepkoech returns to Monaco, the city where she shaved a whopping eight seconds off the 3,000m steeplechase World Record at the Diamond League in July.  

But the Kenyan was so much more than one big performance. Showing remarkable consistency on the Diamond League circuit, she won seven out of her eight races.

Chepkoech also displayed diversity in her running talents, securing 1500m silver at the Commonwealth Games silver in Australia.

The 27-year-old rounded off a remarkable year with the African title at the Senior Athletics Championship in Asaba, Nigeria, before securing the Continental Cup in Ostrava.

Caterine Ibarguen bounces back

Will it be fifth-time lucky for Olympic long jump champion Caterine Ibarguen?

The Colombian has been nominated for four previous Female of the Athlete of the Year awards thanks to her long jump achievements. But the 34-year-old keeps getting better with age, and this year has arguably been her best yet.

After a difficult 2017 in which she considered quitting, the Puerto Rico athlete stormed back to dominate not one, but two events in the Diamond League this season with victories in the long jump AND triple jump!

She then repeated the double at the Central American and Caribbean Championships in Barranquilla.

Ibarguen compared her redemption this year to that of an eagle, who takes time to fly high again after damaging a wing.

Unbeaten Shaunae Miller-Uibo

Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s year was as bright as her often pink or purple hair, remaining unbeaten in fifteen races in 2018.

The victories were spread over five events including the 200m, 300m, 400m and relays, and meant she won a double Diamond League crown in the 200m and 400m.

The Bahamian secured the world’s fastest 400m time since 2006, as well as Commonwealth Games gold in the 200m.

Indoors, she was no less impressive, securing world bests in the 300m and the 150m straight.

She also put on quite a show at the IAAF Continental Cup, where she sped to a magnificent outdoor double in the 200m and the 4x100m relay.

Can Nafissatou Thiam defend her title?

The 2017 IAAF Female Athlete of the Year is back in contention after another world-beating season.

The Belgian heptathlete won the European Championship title and finished as the World No. 1 after an unbeaten season.

In fact, you have to go as far back as 2016 to find her last defeat!

Not content with challenging for the seven-event honours only, Thiam finished as World No. 3 in the high jump as a stand-alone event too.

Who gets your vote?

The winner will be announced at the glitzy IAAF Athletics Awards 2018 on 4 December in Monaco.

The male finalists will be announced on Tuesday.