Nairobi: Kenya`s athletics chief has slammed the handing of the women`s IAAF Athlete of the Year award to Australia`s Sally Pearson at the weekend, saying Vivian Cheruiyot deserved to win.
Cheruiyot triumphed in the 8km race at the World Cross Country Championships as well as the 5,000m and 10,000m at the Daegu athletics world championships as Pearson claimed gold in 100m hurdles.
"How can they say Sally beat Vivian by 30 votes in online voting? This is not beauty pageantry where winners are decided by their looks and how they cat walk," Athletics Kenya Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat told reporters on Wednesday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
"Vivian won three major world titles this year, which beats Pearson`s one title in Daegu. This process must change because it should be based on how one performs on the track," Kiplagat, who is an IAAF council member, added in a rare outburst.
Cheruiyot also shone in the Diamond League and almost ran a world record in the 5,000 in Stockholm while Pearson enjoyed a superb season, winning 15 of 16 races and taking the world 100 hurdles crown in 12.28 seconds, the fastest time in 19 years.
The vote among the IAAF "family", including federations, meeting directors and press, was carried out by email.
Kiplagat said the voting format gave athletes from developed countries an unfair advantage over their African counterparts because of the continent`s low level of internet penetration.