NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 4 – Olympic champion and World Marathon Record Holder Eliud Kipchoge was on Tuesday evening named the IAAF male Athlete of the Year at an awards gala held in Monaco, the headquarters of the athletics world governing body.
Kipchoge beat a rich field of athletes that had American sprinter Chris Coleman, World Under-20 Pole Vault Champion Armand Duplantis from Sweden who also won the rising star award, French heptathlete Kevin Mayer and Qatari 400m hurdler Abdelrahman Samba.
“This award means a lot to me; It shows the significant hard work I have been doing in the whole of my career,” a delighted Kipchoge said as he received the award from IAAF chief Seb Coe.
He becomes only the second Kenyan to ever win the award after 800m World record Holder David Rudisha who clinched the crown in 2010, a year in which he broke the two-lap race record twice in a week.
He reminisced on his World record race in Berlin, noting that he was sure of lowering Dennis Kimetto’s record by the time he got to the 30km mark but wasn’t very sure he would dip under two hours and two minutes.
The 34-year old paid glowing tribute to his family and coach Patrick Sang, saying they have played a massive role in molding him to the athlete he has become.
“My wife and kids are my ignition keys everyday I wake up to go to training. Secondly, I want to say thanks to my coach Patrick Sang. His training and coaching skills have uplifted my life in sports,” Kipchoge, a tan of emotion screaming on his face said.
He added; “I also want to thank Global Sports. They have exposed my career and I am able to show the world that if you believe in yourself and work hard you can achieve more. I also want to thank Nike my sponsors, my training colleagues, the media and IAAF under the leadership of Seb Coe.”
Kipchoge also went on to pledge to work with the world governing body to combat the menace of doping and ensure athletes run clean.
The 34-year old Kipchoge enjoyed a brilliant season which climaxed with the new World Record at the London Marathon with the biggest improvement on a men’s marathon world record since 1967.
he ran a superb race at the Berlin Marathon in September, shedding 78 seconds off compatriot Dennis Kimetto’s record, setting a new mark of 2 hours, 1 minute and 39 seconds.
This was on top of winning the London Marathon earlier in September.
At the same ceremony, Kipchoge and compatriot Beatrice Chepkoech was also among the athletes honored for breaking records this past calendar year.
Chepkoech, the 3,000m steeplechase World Record holder was shortlisted for the Female Athlete of the Year Award, but wasn’t succesful in clinching it.
The gong was picked by Colombian triple jumper Catherine Ibarguen.
Rhonex Kipruto and Celiphine Chespol were nominated for the IAAF rising star award but were not successful in picking the gong.