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Powell and Richards are 2006 World Athletes of the Year

13 November 2006

Powell and Richards are 2006 World Athletes of the Year Powell and Richards are 2006 World Athletes of the Year
By Gary Smith

Jamaican ace speedster, Asafa Powell and Jamaican-born American quarter-miler Sanya Richards were named 2006 World Athletes of the Year at the prestigious 2006 World Athletics Gala in the Salle des Etoiles of the Sporting Club díEté, Monte-Carlo, on Sunday.

Powell, the co-world record holder over 100-metres with a time of 9.77 seconds was delighted at capturing the award, an award in which he was disappointed at not winning last year, due to injuries.

"Last year I wanted to win this title but I didnít because I got injured," Powell, the 2006 Commonwealth Games 100m champion, said at the Gala on Sunday. "This year I worked hard and Iím thankful to get this award."

"It is a major accomplishment to realize that people recognise the hard work that I put in the sport and they actually vote for me. Next year, Iíll work even harder and hopefully win the world title."

The Jamaican sprinter had a fruitful season this year, including staying injury-free and producing 12 sub-10 seconds clockings, but he said his most memorable moment of the season definitely came in the Letzigrund Stadium when he raced to the world record for the third time in two years at Zurich's Weltklasse IAAF Golden League in Switzerland.

"Zürich is definitely the best memory of my 2006 season. Itís a race that I wonít forget. Brussels is also another good moment, I know it would have been another world record if I hadnít had such a bad start," Powell said.

Richards favoured

Richards, who like Powell earned a share of the Golden League jackpot this summer, secured the women's award and she said the prize was the icing on the cake to a successful outdoor season.

"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," Richards, the silver medallist over 400m at the 10th IAAF World Championships last year said.

"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 wasnít 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 six meetings of the Golden League," added Richards, who 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.

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