today announced the names of the male and female athletes who have been shortlisted for the 2014 Belgian Sports Awards. Among the candidates are WAFEL athletes Nafi Thiam (heptathlon) and Thomas Van der Plaetsen (decathlon).

After winning the Rising Star of the Year Award in 2013, Thiam is now in contention for the 2014 Female Athlete of the Year Award. She reached the high jump final at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland and opened up the 2014 outdoor season at the prestigious Hypo Meeting in Götzis, Austria scoring a massive 6508 points taking 5th place overall and setting a new national record to go fifth on the 2014 World Ranking. In a competition which attracted the world’s best multi-eventers, Thiam set lifetime bests in six out of seven events in what was her first heptathlon competition of the year. In August, the geography undergraduate had her breakthrough at the senior stage winning her first major medal with bronze in the women’s heptathlon at the European Athletics Championships and confirmed her arrival at the top tier of her sport. Her coach Roger Lespagnard has been nominated for the Coach of the Year Award.

Van der Plaetsen has again been shortlisted for the Male Athlete of the Year Award. Van der Plaetsen, still just turning 24 in December, was the IAAF World Indoor bronze medalist in the heptathlon and placed 10th at the European Athletics Championships tallying 8105 points.

An e-mail poll involving the Belgian accredited professional journalists begins on Friday November 7th and will close on Friday afternoon November 14th. At the conclusion of the voting process five finalists will be selected with the announcement of the winners taking place live on stage during the 2014 Sportgala on Sunday 14 December 2014.