This year was packed with brilliant performances and it’s now time to vote for your favourite athletes and moments
With three major outdoor championships, as well as an edition of the World Indoor Championships, squeezed in, this truly has been a year like no other for the sport of athletics. There have been a huge range of performances and moments worthy of recognition but which athletes do you think have outshone the others?
It’s the time of year when we call on the knowledgeable AW readership to make their decisions, cast their votes and crown their athletes of the year. Below are our short lists for a variety of accolades and you can make your choices via athleticsweekly.com
You can VOTE at the bottom of this article. Voting closes on November 17 and the winners will be published in the December issue of AW magazine.
The American-born Swede won world indoor pole vault gold in Belgrade and outdoor gold in Oregon, as well as topping the podium at the European Championships in Munich and winning the Diamond League Final. There was also the small matter of him breaking his own world record three times in 2022.
Soufiane El Bakkali
Last year’s Olympic champion was the dominant force in the 3000m steeplechase again. The Moroccan was unbeaten in 2022, winning gold at the World Championships, as well as the Diamond League Final. His run of 7:58.28 was also the fastest this year.
The American showed imperious form indoors, equalling his own indoor 60m hurdles world record in the semi-finals in Belgrade with 7.29 before then going on to take gold. Outdoors, he retained his 110m hurdles world title and also won the Diamond League Final.
The Norwegian superstar broke the 1500m indoor world record with 3:30.60 in Lievin and then took silver at the World Indoor Championships. He also won silver outdoors in Oregon before landing the world 5000m title and completing the 1500m/5000m double at the European Championships. He finished the year as 1500m world leader with a run of 3:29.02 in Zurich which made him Diamond League champion.
The 37-year-old Kenyan underlined his status as master of the marathon when he broke his own world record by an extraordinary 30 seconds thanks to a remarkable run of 2:01:09 in Berlin. He was also victorious at the Tokyo Marathon in March, winning in a time of only 2:02:40.
American sprinters shone at Oregon 2022, but none were brighter than the 25-year-old who retained his 200m world title and broke the national record on his way to gold with a time of 19.31, the third-fastest in history. Part of USA’s gold medal-winning 4x100m quartet, he was also Diamond League champion and unbeaten over 200m during the season.
The Portuguese won his first World Championships triple jump gold with a brilliant performance in Oregon, where he produced the longest jump of the year (17.95m). The Olympic champion also secured the European title, as well as winning World Indoor silver.
Silver might not have been the colour of medal he was looking for in Oregon, but the Olympic champion did strike long jump gold at the World Indoor Championships, as well as producing a championships record-breaking leap of 8.52m to win the European title in Munich.
The Nigerian stunned the world and herself by breaking the women’s 100m hurdles world record with 12.12 at the semi-final stage in Oregon before going on to take her first global gold with a wind-assisted 12.06 in the final. She also landed the Commonwealth title with a Games record of 12.29, as well as winning the Diamond League trophy.
The Jamaican showed an unprecedented level of consistency during a year in which she landed the fifth world 100m title of her career. The Diamond League winner broke the 10.70 barrier on no fewer than seven occasions and was the fastest woman of 2022 with 10.62. She also won world silver medals at 200m and the 4x100m relay.
A quite brilliant run of 21.45 – the second-fastest time ever – brought with it the 200m world title for the Jamaican who also landed silver medals at the 100m and 4x100m relay in Oregon. Her Diamond League win further established her place at the top of the 200m pile.
Already considered one of the best female 1500m runners of all time, the Kenyan only enhanced that reputation with victory in a ferocious World Championships final in Oregon. The Diamond League champion also narrowly missed the world record for the distance by just 0.30 but her 3:50.37 in Monaco was still the second-fastest time ever and a national record.
The Ukrainian won world indoor high jump gold in the immediate aftermath of being forced to flee her homeland due to the Russian invasion. She went on to win world outdoor silver on countback before landing the European title, setting a world lead of 2.05m in Brussels and clinching the Diamond League trophy.
The American was simply in a class of her own over the 400m hurdles this year. The 23-year-old broke her world record as she ran 51.41 at the US Championships and then dismantled the field on her way to the world title with a jaw-dropping time of 50.68 which would win the majority of flat 400m races. She also anchored the United States to world 4x400m relay gold.
A maiden senior world 400m title came the Bahamian’s way as she dominated during the world indoors in Belgrade. It was a similar story outdoors, too, as she proved to be a class apart at Oregon 2022.
One of the most memorable moments of the World Indoor Championships came when the Venezuelan soared out to an outright triple jump world record of 15.74m, which added seven centimetres to her previous mark. She then secured her third outdoor world title in a row, as well as the Diamond League trophy.
The Welshman sprang a surprise by speeding to the British 100m title in Manchester, then took European bronze and helped Great Britain’s men’s team land the European 4x100m relay title.
The 28-year-old broke Iwan Thomas’s long-standing 400m British record by running 44.35 in May before he returned to Oregon and won world bronze. He followed that up with Commonwealth silver and then topped off a memorable summer with European gold in the 400m and 4x400m relay.
A medal-laden summer saw the 27-year-old win the Commonwealth and European 200m titles, while his 4x100m relay exploits brought world bronze, as well as gold medals in Birmingham and Munich.
There was a ninth British shot put title for the 29-year-old, but it was his Commonwealth bronze medal in front of a home crowd at the Alexander Stadium which brought the highlight of the summer for a man who also qualified for the European final.
The other major championships did not go entirely to plan for the hammer thrower, but Miller clearly felt right at home when it came to the Commonwealth Games. The 29-year-old added to England’s medal pile by successfully defending his title on home soil.
The British 200m champion had an exceptionally busy summer but finished it with a number of medals to add to his collection. There was European 200m gold to celebrate, as well as 100m bronze and Commonwealth 200m silver. When it came to the 4x100m relays, he landed European gold and world bronze with Great Britain, as well as Commonwealth gold with England.
The man who returned to the discus after switching back from American football finally got some reward for his hard work. A silver medal arrived at the Commonwealth Games but the one which clearly meant most was won in Munich. In a European final of exceptionally high quality, a throw of 67.41m – his biggest in a decade – brought bronze.
The look of astonishment on his face as he captured world 1500m gold said it all. A dream came true for Jake Wightman as he beat Jakob Ingebrigtsen to the line at Hayward Field. Commonwealth 1500m bronze followed, as did European 800m silver for the British champion, but he will always have Eugene.
2022 proved to be a difficult year for the sprint star, yet still she came away from the World Championships with a hard-earned 200m bronze, narrowly missing out on the 100m podium too, and also winning European 200m silver.
The British champion broke the 3000m steeplechase national record twice, lowering it to 9:07.87 with a brilliant run in Monaco. Her form also secured Commonwealth silver and European bronze medals.
The Olympic 800m silver medallist closed the gap further on rival Athing Mu but still had to settle for silver at the World Championships. She was runner-up at the Commonwealth Games, too, but produced a dominant display to become European champion in Munich.
The aftermath of her injury problems meant an early end to her World Indoors pentathlon competition and eighth place in the World Championships heptathlon. She bounced back, however, to successfully defend her Commonwealth crown in Birmingham.
The Scot has had the year of her life, breaking the UK 5km record, the UK and European 10km record and the UK half-marathon record on the roads. On the track, she won four championships medals in 15 days, with Commonwealth 10,000m gold and 5000m silver, as well as silver medals in both events at the European Championships.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, the Scot set herself a substantial championships workload but she rose to every occasion. The first world outdoor medal of her career arrived with 1500m bronze in Oregon, which was then followed up by brilliant Commonwealth and European golds, as well as 800m bronze in Birmingham.
A breakthrough year for the British 400m champion, who continuously improved her personal best throughout the season and won individual Commonwealth silver, as well as world and European bronze medals in the 4x400m relay.
After coming fourth at the Commonwealth Games, the long jumper returned to a major podium for the first time since 2016 when her final-round leap of 6.80m in Munich’s Olympic stadium secured European bronze.
Under-20 international men
The Israeli sprinter beat Letsile Tebogo to the world under-20 200m title in Cali with a championships record of 19.96. Later finished seventh in the European 200m final in Munich.
After winning discus silver at the World Championships in Eugene, the 19-year-old Lithuanian won European gold in Munich with a championships record of 69.78m as he defeated world champion Kristjan Ceh and all three medallists from the Tokyo Olympics.
Double gold winner at the European Under-18 Championships in the high jump and long jump. In the latter the Italian set a championships record of 8.04m before going on to place seventh (long jump) and eighth (high jump) in the World Under-20 Championships.
The 18-year-old from Florida set a world under-20 200m record of 19.49 in Baton Rouge in April and won bronze at the World Championships in Eugene, in addition to posting a Diamond League victory in Brussels.
The Dutch middle-distance runner won two golds at the European Under-18 Championships in Jerusalem. In the 1500m he clocked a championships record of 3:49.99, while in the 3000m he ran 8:11.49 but his best times of 3:39.46 and 7:48.25 were European under-18 records.
The 19-year-old from Botswana set a world under-20 100m record of 9.94 at the World Championships in Eugene in July. He improved to 9.91 when winning world under-20 gold in Cali to defend his world junior crown, although he was beaten into second in the 200m.
Under-20 international women
Along with Serbia’s Angelina Topic, the Estonian high jumper equalled the world under-18 record of 1.96m this year. However, Bruus cleared 1.95m to win the world under-20 title in Cali as Topic was third.
Completed a golden 100m and 4x100m double at the 2022 World Under-20 Championships. Just 17, the Jamaican set a 100m championship record of 10.95 at the latter event in Cali, too.
World under-20 winner in Cali at 100m hurdles in a championship record and world under-18 best of 12.77. The Jamaican also won 4x100m gold in Cali and doesn’t turn 18 until next March.
At 19 years and 11 months old the Greek thrower became the youngest ever winner of a European javelin title when winning by more than four metres with 65.81m in Munich in August.
The 19-year-old Finnish heptathlete successfully defended her world under-20 crown in Cali as she scored 6084 to win by more than 200 points. Later finished 10th against seniors in the European Championships in Munich.
The Serbian threw a championships record of 63.52m to win the world under-20 javelin title by almost six metres in Cali. The 18-year-old successfully defended the title she first won in 2021, too.
British under-20 men
The decathlete’s summer was hit by injury and he DNF’d at the World Under-20 Championships due to a hip problem, but he placed fourth at the end of day one in Cali and his score of 7361 at the England Under-20 Championships earlier in the season lifted him to No.6 on the UK all-time junior lists.
Won bronze in the European Under-18 3000m final in 8:14.59 and the Poole AC runner also took the England Under-20 title in Bedford.
A throw of 73.49m earned the Berkshire athlete a silver medal in the British Championships against senior javelin throwers, in addition to placing him No.8 on the UK all-time junior rankings.
The Leeds City athlete won bronze in the 800m and finished sixth in the 1500m at the World Under-20 Championships in Cali, while his best times in 2022 of 1:46.61 and 3:39.60 put him No.6 and No.4 respectively on the UK all-time rankings.
With 10.28 for 100m and 20.40 for 200m, he is the fastest junior in Britain this year. The latter time earned him bronze at the British Championships in Manchester, too. At the World Under-20 Championships, meanwhile, he was seventh in the 200m final.
After running in the 4x400m at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, the Blackheath athlete ran 1:46.80 for 800m at the World Under-20 Championships, where he placed fifth in the final.
British under-20 women
The shot putter was one of eight British gold medallists at the European Under-18 Championships in Jerusalem in July. The following month the Blackheath & Bromley thrower was 11th in the World Under-20 Championships in Cali.
Aged 16, she won the European under-18 200m title by 67 hundredths of a second with a wind-assisted 23.36. Part of Dina Asher-Smith’s training group at Blackheath, her late-season 11.53 for 100m puts her No.4 on the UK all-time under-17 rankings.
Yemi Mary John
Britain’s only gold medallist at the World Under-20 Championships this year, the 19-year-old ran 51.50 in Cali to break the UK junior 400m record and took 4x400m relay bronze, too.
Flew to 100m hurdles victory at the European Under-18s in Jerusalem in a UK age-group best and championship record of 13.05, although she had to withdraw from her semi-final at the World Under-20 Championships due to a minor injury.
In her first season at 400m hurdles she took a chunk off her PB to set a UK under-18 record of 58.09 when winning European gold in Jerusalem. The David Hemery-coached athlete later reached the World Under-20 Championships semi-finals.
Clocked a championships record of 11.39 to win the European Under-18 100m title in Jerusalem. The Harrow sprinter later ran faster with 11.36 at the World Under-20 Championships and narrowly failed to make the final in Cali.
British male masters
He set stunning M65 world records at 5000m (16:36.59 – over a minute faster than any other M65 has run) and impressive marks on the road at 5km (16:35), five miles (28:16) and 10km (34:36). Walker also gained world masters golds by huge margins at 5000m (16:43.44) and 10km (34:44), winning the latter by an astonishing five minutes.
22 years after he ran his 13.7 110m hurdles PB in a Britain v France international, Elliott won the world M45 title by five metres in a championships record 14.64. Indoors he won the European 60m hurdles title and also set a world record of 7.91.
Almost 40 years after he ran a 1:45.66 800m, the Scot won the world M65 two-lap title by a huge margin in a European record of 2:14.67. He also won the world 1500m and European indoor 800m titles in his age group, as well as setting British indoor records at 1500m (4:43.88) and mile (5:04.01).
Close to his 69th birthday, the renowned psychiatrist won M65 world golds in Tampere at 100m (with a British record 12.43) and 200m, though injury kept him out of the 400m final and relays.
Won M50 European indoor long jump gold in a British record 6.24m and set a British outdoor record of 6.21m in taking the World Masters silver medal. There was further success with gold in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, as well as British Masters medals at 60m, 200m and triple jump.
Became the oldest Briton to break 2:40 for the marathon at Chester with a UK M60 record of 2:39:16, a week after Nigel Rackham had taken four minutes off the record at Berlin. He also topped the UK M60 rankings at 10km (34:32) and parkrun (16:51).
British female masters
Produced the top individual run of the year with a 57.55 W50 400m world record at the British Championships but she also uniquely set British age group records elsewhere at the 200m (26.27) and 800m (a near world record 2:14.56), equalled the 100m record (13.06) and also found time to take four minutes off her parkrun PB.
Set a world W65 300m hurdles record of 52.33, improving her own 52.70 from the British Championships where she also set a world mark at 80m hurdles of 13.22. In Finland she also won a W60 4x400m gold and W65 4x100m silver. Indoors she set a 60m hurdles world record of 9.80 and won the European title.
The Scot’s best runs came indoors as she set numerous W60 world records at 3000m, ending with a 10:48.13, and also set a UK best at 1500m (5:09.58). Outdoors she set British marks for 3000m (10:57.95), the mile (5:38.55) and road mile (5:31).
Enjoyed a dominant win in the World Masters 800m where she set a British W60 record of 2:33.14 and set a world mark of 2:31.51 later that same month. She also finished second in the 400m in Finland in 65.54 and set a British indoor 800m record of 2:35.91.
After winning W70 European indoor golds at 1500m, 3000m and cross-country, she moved into the W75s for the summer and won four golds by huge margins in world records at the World Masters. First place came in the 800m (3:07.19), 5000m (22:53.55) 1500m (6:26.74) and 10km (52:00). She also set a world mark at 1500m (6:20.93) and UK mark at 3000m (14:06.09).
The versatile 86-year-old won World Masters W85 titles at 2000m steeplechase (16:55.73), long jump (1.91m) and triple jump (4.61m) and weight (7.94m) with British records, as well as gold in the shot (6.20m) and hammer (21.39m).
Para male athletes
The Swiss “silver bullet” had to withdraw from Boston earlier this year due to medical reasons but otherwise has swept all before him in the marathon majors, winning in Tokyo, Berlin, London, Chicago and New York City.
Secured titles on the track across a range of events, with gold at the British Championships in the T54 400m, victory at the Birmingham Diamond League 800m and then finishing top of the Commonwealth Games podium in the 1500m.
At the age of 36, the South African landed T11/12 100m gold at the Commonwealth Games by seeing off England’s Zac Shaw with a time of 10.83, quicker than the 11.02 which had won him the title at the Gold Coast Games of 2018.
The sprinter, bronze medallist at the British indoor and outdoor championships, took top spot at the Commonwealth Games T45/47 100m in a personal best of 10.94.
Had to settle for Commonwealth silver behind Ntutu but broke the British 60m record indoors and was also crowned national champion outdoors in Manchester.
The wheelchair athlete, who admitted afterwards to AW that he trains in a garage with a leaky roof, saw off the might of David Weir to take the T53/T54 marathon title at the Commonwealth Games.
Para female athletes
The 2018 long jump champion added another Commonwealth gold to her collection, but this time she did it on the track after clocking 12.83 to win the T37/38 100m for Wales ahead of England’s Sophie Hahn.
The seven-time Paralympic, 11-time world and three-time European champion secured the one title that was missing from her collection when she struck gold in front of a home crowd in the women’s 100m T33/34 at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. She led a home an English clean sweep of the medals, clocking a Games record of 16.84 in the process.
The Swiss Paralympic T53 400m champion has made an incredible start to her wheelchair marathon career, winning on her debut in Berlin before then securing victory in London a week later.
Madison de Rozario
This year’s winner of the top individual honour at the Australian Women in Sport Awards followed up her Paralympic success from Tokyo by securing Commonwealth gold in the T53/54 marathon, as well as the T53/54 1500m in Birmingham.
The Scot added to her major medal collection with Commonwealth bronze in the T53/54 1500m on the track. On the roads, she enjoyed notable wins at the Vitality London 10,000 and Leeds 10km, as well as just being pipped to Great North Run victory.
A rising star in distance wheelchair racing, she took silver in T53/54 marathon at the Commonwealth Games, as well as coming third in London and producing half marathon victories at the Big Half and Great North Run.
Mel Watman award for Performance of the Year
This category, named after the late former editor of this magazine, recognises the truly outstanding athletics excellence to have played out in 2022. It is not an easy choice…
Mondo Duplantis brought the World Championships to a close – and the house down at Hayward Field – by breaking the pole vault world record for the fifth time in his already glittering career.
His first world title arrived indoors in Belgrade during the spring, when he cleared 6.20m to raise the standard, but he went one centimetre further in Oregon with another spectacular leap into the history books.
The marathon has never seen anyone like Eliud Kipchoge. The Kenyan, who races sparingly, had begun his year with victory at the Tokyo Marathon but he arrived in Berlin in September with a clearly stated intention of breaking his world record time of 2:01:39, which was also set in the German capital.
The 37-year-old flew through halfway under the schedule for breaking two hours but, though that landmark eluded him, he still chopped a full 30 seconds from the previous mark, grinning from ear to ear after clocking 2:01:09.
Sydney McLaughlin’s 400m hurdles world record-breaking run of 51.46 at last year’s Olympics was one of the greatest athletics performances in history, so for the American to improve on it in such style – and by such a margin – this summer was truly remarkable.
She qualified for the World Championships with a run of 51.41 at the US Trials and then ramped things up further on the big stage, scorching her way to another global gold in 50.68, leaving the likes of European star Femke Bol and former world record-holder Dalilah Muhammad trailing in her wake.
After Olympic disappointment in Tokyo, Jake Wightman went back to the drawing board with father and coach, Geoff, and set about plotting how he might turn himself into a contender on the global stage. The hard work paid off in the World Championships 1500m final as, with 200m to go, he seized his chance to move past Jakob Ingebrigtsen and into the lead. From there, no-one could catch him and he became Britain’s first men’s 1500m world champion since Steve Cram in 1983.
Aleksandr Sorokin has been rewriting the ultra-running record books for a few years now but the Lithuanian produced one of the greatest long distance performances in history back in September.
He added a staggering 10.8km to his previous 24-hour world record when he completed 319.614km. That run in Italy fell just 1.5 miles short of the 200-mile landmark and meant the 40-year-old averaged a stunning 7:15 mile pace or 4:30 per kilometre for an entire day!
Yulimar Rojas stunned Tokyo with a triple jump world record of 15.67m on her way to Olympic gold last summer and, at the World Indoor Championships back in March, expectations had been high that she could at the very least surpass her world indoor mark of 15.43m.
A leap of 15.36m had secured gold but, with her final attempt, the Venezuelan produced an audible gasp from the crowd before the celebratory roar which greeted the news she had reached an incredible 15.74m for an outright world record.
Altra award for most improved UK road runner
Anya only started running in 2018 with Clapham Chasers and in 2019 ran her first marathon, at London, in 4:34:23. Three years later and now running for the Best Athletics club, she was third British female home at the London Marathon in 2:36:21.
The Stockport Harrier is coached by Dave Turnbull, who formerly led Steve Vernon to English National cross-country titles. She recently won the 2022 Manchester Half-Marathon in a PB 73:29 (her first half marathon was only last year). She also ran a 10km PB at this year’s Leeds Abbey Dash, where she placed fourth in 32:45 (her PB in 2019 was 36:10).
The Lincoln Wellington Athlete ran a PB of 33:24 to finish 10th at this year’s Leeds Abbey Dash 10km. Just two years ago she had a personal best of 37:04.
The Blackheath & Bromley Harrier was 12th in the London Marathon in 2:14:32. His improvement this year came over a span of distances, with a 14:21 5km road PB and a 65:41 half-marathon PB which was a big improvement on the 72:50 that was his PB four years ago.
The Cambridge & Coleridge athlete ran a 5000m PB of 13:52.76 this year. Just four years ago his PB was 15:2314. This was his first year racing over 800m and 1500m and he quickly brought his PBs down to 1:50.39 and 3:40.32.
The Blackburn athlete ran 3:51.7 for 1500m this year whereas three years ago his personal best was 4:09. In those intervening years he also brought his 10km PB down from 33:05 to 29:57, which he ran when competing for the GB under-20 team at the Trofeo Opitergium 10km in Italy. This was also the first year he raced over 5000m, managing a 14:18.97 performance.
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