NAIROBI, November 24 – Olympic 800 metres champion and World junior record holder Pamela Jelimo was honoured at the International Association Athletics Federations (IAAF) Athletics Gala in Monaco on Sunday night.
The 18 year old won the Revelation Of The Year award following her sensational performances this year during which she became the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic Gold, won the African title and bettered the World junior, Africa and national records five times.
Jelimo’s personal best time of 1:54.01 was the fastest time in 25 years and third all time best. She also won the IAAF $1 million Golden League jackpot as well as the World Athletics Final.
Henry Rono won the inspirational award. He is widely regarded as one of Kenya’s most talented athletes having set four world records in one glorious month in 1978.
Jamaican sprint King Usain Bolt and Yelena Isinbayeva were named the male and female athletes of the year.
The 22 year old Jamaican won three gold medals at the Olympics in Beijing setting three world records along the way. He clocked 9.69 sceonds to win the men’s 100 metres, 19.30 to win 200 metres before running the third leg in Jamaica’s barnstormning run in the 4×100 metres relay which they set a new world best time of 37.10.
“I have a motto that anything is possible. But this really is such an honour. Just to be included with every great name in the sport is wonderful. I’ll try to do it year after year," said Bolt.
Isinbayeva set a new pole vault world record of 5.05 metres as she successfully defended her Olympic title.
“I’m very proud. It feels like the first time after getting over my difficulties of 2006 and 2007. I will make a very special place of honor for this trophy."I knew it was going to be difficult over the past two seasons. I was very confident that I could break through the wall,” she said.
Cuban 110m hurdler Dayron Robles won the male performance of the year award after setting a new world record of 12.87sec as well as claiming the Olympic title.
Dibaba and Barbora Spotakova, of the Czech Republic, who set a new world record after claiming the Olympic javelin title, took the women’s equivalent.
Pamela Jelimo, who won the 800m Olympic title at the age of 18, was given the revelation of the year award.
IAAF Award winners
Male world athlete: Usain Bolt (Jam)
Female world athlete: Yelena Isinbayeva (Rus)
Male performance: Dayron Robles (Cub)
Female performance: Tirunesh Dibaba (Eth)/ Barbora Spotakova (Cze)
Revelation of the year: Pamela Jelimo (Ken)
Distinguished Career award: Kajsa Bergqvist (Swe)/Stefan Holm (Swe)/Jefferson Perez (Ecu)
Inspirational award: Henry Rono (Ken)
80 Years of Women Athletes at the Olympic Games: Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA)
Special Olympic award: Usain Bolt (Jam)/Tirunesh Dibaba (Eth)/Yelena Isinbayeva (Rus)/Francoise Mbango (Cmr)/Angelo Taylor (USA)