Jessica Ennis tipped for athlete of year title

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Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis is among the three finalists shortlisted for the 2012 World Female Athlete of the Year.

The 26-year-old, who won gold in front of her home crowd at this year’s London Games, is in contention for the award alongside American sprinter Allyson Felix and New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams.

Felix was a double Olympic champion with victories in the 200m and 4x400m relay, while 2008 Olympic champion Adams was awarded a second successive gold after Nadzeya Ostapchuk was stripped of the title following a failed drugs test.

The shortlist for the men’s award was announced earlier in the week, with Usain Bolt, Aries Merritt and David Rudisha in contention.

The winners of both categories will be announced on
24 November in Barcelona.

America’s 110 metres hurdles champion at the London Olym­pics, Merrit leads the betting at 6-4 to win the men’s award, while Ennis is 10/11 favourite to collect the women’s prize.

Jessica Bridge, spokeswoman for bookmakers Ladbrokes, said yesterday: ­“Merritt has had an astonishing year and we’re not at all shocked to see punters 
favouring him over Bolt for the prestigious accolade. Ennis looks home and dry as far as the 
betting is concerned.”