Russian athlete Maria Lasitskene is included on the IAAF shortlist ©Getty Images

A total of 20 world champions - including a Russian athlete forced to compete as a neutral - have been nominated for the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Athlete of the Year awards.

The awards honour a male and female athlete each year with ten-strong shortlists revealed for both prizes today.

Everyone named won gold medals at this year's IAAF World Championships, held in London in August.

In the frame for the women's award is Russian Maria Lasitskene, who competed at the Olympic Stadium despite her country remaining suspended by the IAAF due to doping allegations.

There were 19 Russians who met a strict set of criteria that were permitted to take part in London, where they were known as "Authorised Neutral Athletes".

Lasitskene won their sole gold medal in the women's high jump with an effort of 2.03 metres, with Russia's suspension - which has been in place since November 2015 - not preventing her shortlisting. 

Also shortlisted for the women's award is 10,000m world champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, winner of last year's prize after clinching Olympic gold at Rio 2016.

Kenya's 5,000m winner Hellen Obiri, Australia's 100m hurdles gold medallist Sally Pearson and South African 800m champion Caster Semenya are the other track nominees on the shortlist.

Field events are represented by Belgian heptathlete Nafissatou Thiam, discus thrower Sandra Perkovic of Croatia, American long jumper Britteny Reese, Greek pole vaulter Ekaterini Stefanidi and Polish hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk.

The men's shortlist is notable for the absent of Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt, who retired at London 2017 after only winning bronze in the men's 100m behind Justin Gatlin and pulling up injured in the 4x100m relay.

Britain's Sir Mo Farah has been shortlisted after his 10,000m gold at London 2017 ©Getty Images
Britain's Sir Mo Farah has been shortlisted after his 10,000m gold at London 2017 ©Getty Images

American Gatlin, who has twice served drugs suspensions, was a controversial champion and has not made the shortlist.

Bolt, an eight-time Olympic champion, won the 2016 prize and has claimed the award six times in all.

Britain's quadruple Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah is nominated after winning the 10,000m title on home soil in London and coming second in the 5,000m.

Other track nominees are Kenyan 1,500m winner Elijah Manangoi, Jamaican 110m hurdles winner Omar McLeod and South African 400m winner Wayde van Niekerk.

The six field nominees are Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim, Poland's hammer thrower Pawel Fajdek, American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, South African long jumper Luvo Manyonga, American triple jumper Christian Taylor and German javelin thrower Johannes Vetter.

The shortlists were drawn up by an "international panel of athletics experts", which featured representatives from all six Continental areas of the IAAF.

Three finalists in each category will now be decided following a voting process.

The IAAF Council and "IAAF family" will cast votes by e-mail, with fans able to have their say online via the IAAF social media platforms.

Votes from the IAAF Council will count for 50 per cent of the result with the family and fan ballots counting for 25 per cent each.

Voting closes on October 16, with the winners due to be announced at the IAAF Athletics Awards in Monaco on November 24.