MONACO (Sporting Alert) — World record holder Usain Bolt has won the Male World Athlete of the Year award for 2011 in Monaco on Saturday.

The Jamaican who owns both the 100m and 200m world records, at 9.58 and 19.19 secs, respectively, was winning the award for the third, following his honours in 2008 and 2009.

Bolt picked out of the 100m final at the world championships in Daegu, in August, but returned to defend his 200m and then ran a blistering anchor leg to help Jamaica break its own world record in the sprint relay.

“This season was a really trying season for me, I really had to work hard and stand up my game,” said Bolt, who started the year slowly and was criticized.

“There were some close races this season, I really had to push myself. So this (award) really means a whole lot to me.

“Because I really came out there hard this year, and all the hard work I put in paid off.”

Sally Pearson of Australia won the Female World Athlete of the Year award and the honour was the first for the hurdler, who dominated her event on her way to winning the world title this summer.

“It was just such an honour to be in the top ten this year,” said Pearson. “To be able to win this for my country and for my region Oceania means a lot and hopefully will inspire junior athletes to stay in athletics.”

Honoured but a little surprised.

“It was a little surprising that I won,” Pearson said. “Vivian (Cheruiyot) was a three-time World champion and Valerie (Adams) just dominates every time she’s out there.

“She’s the role model athlete everyone should look up to.”

Cheruiyot did win the female former of the year title, with world 100m champion Yohan Blake winning on the men’s side.

Grenadian world 400m champion Kirani James won the men rising star award.

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