Athletics awards: Kipchoge and Ibaurguen deserved it

Sajith B Warrier

Monaco, December 5: The International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAFF) annual awards gala went much on the expected lines with Eliud Kipchoge and Caterine Ibarguen being named the male and female World Athletes of the Year.

The IAAF Council Meeting held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco and chaired by its chief Sebastian Coe, also took key decisions like confirming Budapest as hosts of the 2023 World Athletics Championships, the reviewing the status of the Russian Federation and presenting a new marketing opportunity for Member Federations.

Male athlete: Eliud Kipchoge

Kipchoge had underlined his status as the world's most dominant distance runner. The 34-year-old Kenyan won the London Marathon in April in 2:04:17 to finish comfortably ahead of one of the deepest marathon fields in history.

Five months later, he won the Berlin Marathon in 2:01:39 to smash the world record.

His time in the German capital was 78 seconds faster than the previous world record, representing the biggest single improvement on a men's marathon world record since 1967.

Female athlete: Caterine Ibarguen

Not content with being the best triple jumper in the world, Ibarguen also tested herself against the world's best in the long jump this year - and consistently came out on top in that too.

The 34-year-old Colombian won both horizontal jumps at the Central American and Caribbean Games, the IAAF Continental Cup and at the IAAF Diamond League finals - winning the latter two titles in two different cities within the space of 24 hours.

She was unbeaten in all eight of her triple jump competitions, ending the year with a world-leading mark of 14.96M in her specialist event and a national record of 6.93M in the long jump.

Male rising star: Armand Duplantis

Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis won the senior European title by breaking his own world Under-20 record three times within the competition.

He went over 5.95M, 6M and 6.05M on his first attempts, winning with a height that has been bettered outdoors only by Sergey Bubka.

Earlier in the year he won the world U-20 title in Tampere with a championship record of 5.82M and won on home soil at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm, beating many of the world's leading senior pole vaulters.

Female rising star: Sydney McLaughlin

US sprinter Sydney McLaughlin broke her own world Under-20 400M hurdles record of 52.75. Not only was that mark the fastest time in the world this year, it also moved her into the top 10 on the world all-time list.

Undefeated in all of her races at 400M flat and the 400M hurdles, she won the US collegiate title in Eugene.

Earlier in the year she recorded the fastest ever indoor performances by an U-20 athlete at 300M and 400M, clocking 36.12 and 50.36 respectively. She ended the year as the world U-20 leader for the 200M indoors and outdoors, the 400M indoors and outdoors, the 400M hurdles and the 300M indoors.

Other awards

Andreas Brugger clinched the IAAF President's Award.
A former shot putter, Brugger, now 91, is best known for his tenure as meeting director of Zurich's iconic Weltklasse.

IAAF Coaching Achievement of the Year was bagged by Joe Vigil. In his 50-year coaching career, Vigil has worked as US team coach on Olympic teams, IAAF World Cross Country Championships and Pan American Games.

Evelyn Claudio Lopez won the IAAF Woman of the Year Award. The Puerto Rican has dedicated her life to promoting the cause of women's athletics.

(Source: IAAF Media)

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