MONACO (AFP) - US sprinter Justin Gatlin has been ditched from the final shortlist for World Athlete of the Year, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) revealed on Friday.
Gatlin, who has twice served doping bans, was a controversial inclusion on the original 10-man shortlist announced on Oct 3.
The prospect of a convicted drugs cheat winning the IAAF's athlete of the year award caused outrage in some quarters.
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m gold medallist and double sprint world champion in 2005, belied his 32 years during an incredible season which saw him record the three fastest times this year in the 100 metres, and the fastest times in the 100m and 200m ever by a man in his 30s.
But there will be relief that Gatlin has not made the final shortlist of three names.
Qatari indoor high jump world champion Mutaz Essa Barshim, Kenyan Dennis Kipruto Kimetto, the new marathon world record holder, and French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, who broke the indoor world record this year, are the three names up for the men's award.
New Zealand's double Olympic and four-time world shot putt champion Valerie Adams, Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba, the indoor world record holder over 1500m and 3000m, and Dafne Schippers, the Dutch double European sprint champion and world heptathlon silver medallist, made the women's list.
The men's and women's winners will be announced at the World Athletics Gala in Monaco on Nov 21.