News25 Nov 2015

A closer look at the 2015 World Athlete of the Year women’s finalists


Genzebe Dibaba, Dafne Schippers and Anita Wlodarczyk (© AFP / Getty Images)

With the imminent announcement of the 2015 World Athlete of the Year winners, we revisit the achievements of the three women’s finalists.

Genzebe Dibaba

Genzebe Dibaba’s incredible season started back in February when she clocked 14:18.86 in Stockholm, giving her the full set of world indoor distance records following her performances over 1500m and 3000m one year prior.

While in previous seasons Dibaba had struggled to maintain her dominance outdoors, this year she succeeded. She got her summer campaign under way with IAAF Diamond League victories over 5000m in Eugene, Oslo and Paris, each time getting close to the world record her sister had set seven years prior.

The Ethiopian then stepped down to the 1500m and ran a solo 3:54.11 in Barcelona. Little more than a week later, she went even quicker, breaking the world record with a stunning 3:50.07 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco.

Dibaba adopted more of a tactical approach at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 and covered the last 800 metres of the 1500m in 1:57.2 to shake off her opposition and win gold.

She added to her medal haul when taking bronze in the 5000m.

Dafne Schippers

When Dafne Schippers announced in June that she would be dropping the heptathlon in favour of the sprints, she probably didn’t envisage that she would be standing on top of the 200m podium at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 little more than two months later, having clocked one of the fastest times in history.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Once her season got going, Schippers was competitive on the IAAF Diamond League circuit. But it was in Beijing where the Dutch athlete truly shone.

She twice broke her own national record en route to taking silver in the 100m in a time of 10.81. Four days later, she was victorious in a highly competitive 200m final, breaking the European record with her winning time of 21.63.

Schippers’ performance was also a championship record and moved her to third on the world all-time list.

Anita Wlodarczyk

Few athletes in the world this year were as dominant as Anita Wlodarczyk in the hammer.

The Polish thrower was undefeated in all 11 of her competitions. She also produced the top eight throws in the world this year. Including other marks within her various series, she owns the top 21 throws in the world. And her shortest throw this year, 74.29m, is a mark that was bettered by just three other women in 2015.

On 1 August, she smashed her own world record with a throw of 81.08m, becoming the first woman in history to throw beyond 80 metres.

She surpassed that barrier again at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, winning gold with a championship record of 80.85m.

She also won the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, having amassed a record score of 235.28 points.