The news was confirmed by the IAAF on Monday.
Van Niekerk has been nominated alongside British 10 000m runner Mo Farah and Qatar high-jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim .
There was no joy for South Africa’s other track superstar, 800m Olympic champion Caster Semenya, who was not nominated for the women’s award.
Instead, Ethiopian 10 000m runner Almaz Ayana , Greek pole vaulter Ekaterini Stefanidi and Belgium’s multi-event star Nafissatou Thiam have been nominated in the women’s category.
The winners will be announced at an event in Monaco that will take place on Friday, November 24.
Van Niekerk, meanwhile, is expected to be out of action for half on next year and miss the 2018 Commonwealth Games after he picked up an injury playing in a celebrity touch rugby match. DM
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