MONACO, France, November 17- In the end, there were no surprises as triple world champions, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce walked away from the 2013 IAAF World Athletics Gala held in the millionaire’s playground of Monaco as the Male and Female Athletes of the Year.
In the glittering backdrop of the Salle des Etoiles of the Sporting Club d’Eté whose theme colour was blue, the Jamaican pair underlined their supremacy in a season where they won all there was to be contested in their trade by accepting their trophies besides the $100,000 (Sh8.4m) cash award that comes along with the recognition.
As athletics royalty gathered to honour their best during the black tie event, it was the first time in four years that the distance running powerhouse that is Kenya failed to produce a finalist in the shortlist in both coveted awards.
World marathon record holder, Wilson Kipsang, still basking in the glory of his 2:03:23 new standard in the ultimate distance event however, had his moment in the sun when he stood adjacent to Bolt as part of the televised programme of the gala.
“Even if I did not make the shortlist, being here for such a great event is enough motivation to return here next year and hopefully win it.
“Perhaps that will only be possible if I break the world record again since there is no major championship in 2014,” Kipsang, resplendent in a black suit and bow-tie said at the fete hosted by HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Honorary President of the International Athletic Foundation.
Bolt came up against Britain’s Somali-born double Olympics and world champion, Mo Farah and Moscow High jump champion, Bohdan Bondarenko (Ukraine) for the top award.
However, Farah was not in Monaco after failing to secure a Visa and the Jamaican, 27, won it for the fifth time to add to his successes in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Bolt defended both his 100m and 200m titles at the World Championships in Moscow, winning the latter final in a 2013 world-leading time of 19.66.
He concluded his Worlds by anchoring a Jamaican quartet to the gold medals in the 4x100m Relay. Bolt won 10 out of his 11 100m races (including heats), and was unbeaten in his five races over 200m.
“My focus is to keep working hard. I never go to a season saying I want to be the athlete of the year; I go to do my best, run fast and defend my title.
“I do my best to show the world that I’m the best, I set goal and set to work towards them. I do my best on the field to show everyone I work hard,” the lanky Jamaican said moments after being crowned.
Fraser-Pryce, 26, a first-time winner, regained her 100m title at the World Championships, winning in 10.71 which remained the fastest time of the year.
After having run the fastest time of the year in the 200m, 22.13 at the Jamaican championships in June, she went on to win the gold medal over the longer distance in Moscow.
Like her compatriot Bolt, she also anchored the Jamaican 4x100m team to victory, a national record and the second fastest time in history.
“I’m shocked and excited. It’s something that has been a dream of mine,” Fraser-Pryce, who becomes the second Jamaican woman to win, after Merlene Ottey in 1990 told the IAAF after her win.
“Not all the time do things happen that we want to happen, but this did,” she added.
New Zealand Shot putt queen and World titleholder, Valerie Adams and Zuzana Hejnova of Czech Republic complete the women’s top award shortlist.
IAAF RISING STAR AWARD
Mary Cain (USA)
Cain, 17, has set numerous US junior and high school middle-distance records and age-bests since the start of the year and became the youngest athlete ever to represent the USA at the IAAF World Championships after qualifying for the 1500m, making the final in Moscow.
She ran 800m in 1:59.51 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene to become the first US youth, junior or high school female runner to go under two minutes and improved the US junior 1500m record by almost five seconds when she ran 4:04.62 this summer.
IAAF COACHING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Alberto Salazar (USA)
Salazar was an outstanding distance runner in the 1980s, winning the New York City Marathon on three consecutive occasions from 1980-1982. He also won the 1982 Boston Marathon and finished second at the 1982 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
As a coach based in Oregon, Salazar has guided the career of Great Britain’s double Olympic Games and IAAF World Championships gold medallist Mo Farah as well as a host of top US international runners including Galen Rupp and IAAF Rising Star of the Year Mary Cain.
IAAF WORLD JOURNALIST AWARD
Gianni Merlo (ITA)
Merlo is a journalist with the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport and has also been the President of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), the global body representing sports journalists, since 2005.
MALE MASTERS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Charles Allie (USA)
Competing in the M65 division, Allie broke outdoor World records in the 200m and 400m this year, running 24.65 and 56.09 respectively and set an indoor world best of 25.41 in the 200m.
FEMALE MASTERS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Christa Bortignon (CAN)
Bortignon, competing in the W75 category, won eight gold medals at the 2013 World Masters Athletics Championships. She holds six W75 World records.
IAAF HALL OF FAME – 2013 INDUCTEES