World champion Usain Bolt will start as the favourite to be named 2009 World Male Athlete of the Year at the annual ceremony in Monte Carlo later this month.

The Jamaican sprint star, who repeated his Olympic feat of 2008 by winning this year’s World Championships 100 metres and 200m gold medals in world record times, is among the five male athletes shortlisted.

Fellow sprinter Tyson Gay of the United States, Ethiopia’s middle distance star Kenenisa Bekele, pole vaulter Steve Hooker of Australia and Norwegian javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen are also on the shortlist.The winner will be announced alongside other awards at the 2009 World Athletics Gala, which will take place in Monte Carlo on November 22.


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