The announcement was made by the IAAF among a list of 10 men and women on Monday.
The voting process begins this week for the World Athletes of the Year before the IAAF Athletics Awards 2017 in Monaco on November 24.
The male and female World Athletes of the Year will be announced live on stage at the IAAF Athletics Awards.
The nominees for 2017 World Athlete of the Year are:
Men: Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) Pawel Fajdek (POL) Mohamed Farah (GBR) Sam Kendricks (USA) Elijah Manangoi (KEN) Luvo Manyonga RSA) Omar McLeod (JAM) Christian Taylor (USA) Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) Johannes Vetter (GER) Women: Almaz Ayana (ETH) Maria Lasitskene (ANA) Hellen Obiri (KEN) Sally Pearson (AUS) Sandra Perkovic (CRO) Brittney Reese (USA) Caster Semenya (RSA) Ekaterini Stefanidi (GRE) Nafissatou Thiam (BEL) Anita Wlodarczyk (POL)