David Rudisha leads a star-studded Kenyan line up nominated for IAAF World Athlete of the year award

Olympics Day 13 - Athletics...LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: David Lekuta Rudisha of Kenya celebrates with his country's national flag after winning gold and setting a new world record of 1.40.91 in the Men's 800m Final on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Olympic champions David Rudisha, Vivian Cheruiyot, Eliud Kipchoge and Conselsus Kipruto are among the 20 nominees for the 2016 IAAF World Athlete of the Year Award.

The 2010 World Athlete of the Year Rudisha successfully defended his 800m gold medal in the Rio Games while Kipruto and Kipchoge are making the list for the first time.

Cheruiyot, who won her maiden Olympics title in Rio in the 5000m, has made the cut in the women’s list that has Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana, Ruth Beitia (Spain), Kendra Harrison (USA), Caterine Ibarguen (Colombia), Ruth Jebet (Bahrain), Sandra Perkovic (Croatia), Caster Semenya (South Africa), Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) and Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland).

Cheruiyot, 33, once again makes to the final lists for the first time since the controversial 2011 Awards where she was arguably the outright winner but hurdler Sally Pearson was declatred the winner alongside Usain Bolt.

Kipruto, winner of the 3000m steeplechase gold in Rio, has had an outstanding season in the Diamond League series while Kipchoge successfully defended his London Marathon title in April before winning Kenya’s second marathon gold in Rio in August.

Kipruto, 21, who has played second fiddle many times including winning silver medals at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships, won his maiden Olympics title in a new Games record of 8 minutes and 03.28 seconds.

The male and female World Athletes of the Year will be announced live on stage at the IAAF Awards Night on December 2, 2016 in Monaco.

A three-way voting process will determine the finalists.

The IAAF Council and the IAAF Family will cast their votes by email, while fans can vote online via the IAAF’s social media platforms. The IAAF Council’s vote will count for 50 percent of the result, while the IAAF Family’s votes and the public votes will each count for 25 per cent of the final result.

Voting closes on November 1, this year. At the conclusion of the voting process, three men and three women finalists will be announced by the IAAF before the winners are finally declared on December 2 at the Gala night.

USA’s decathlon star Ashton Eaton and Ethiopia’s 1,500m world-record holder Genzebe Dibaba are the reigning IAAF World Athletes of the Year.