The much coveted IAAF Athlete of the Year 2018 winners are finally revealed. In a glistening award ceremony in Monaco, World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya and 2018 triple and long jump Diamond League champion Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia were honoured by the IAAF with the 2018 IAAF Male and Female Athlete of the Year award respectively.
Ahead of the awards which recognise the greatest athletes each year based on their performances and recognition, sprinter Eliud Kipchoge was widely regarded favourite. Kipchoge, 34, won the London Marathon and set a world record of two hours, one minute and 39 seconds in Berlin, in a year that saw him win many laurels. And he capped off a fine year for himself with the Male Athlete of the Year award among a nominee list that included some superstars.
Despite having raced only twice in 2018, Kipchoge was selected for the coveted award after securing his position on top of the runners’ charts. Kipchoge chopped 78 seconds off the previous world record with a run in Berlin to become only the second Kenyan ever to be given the highest of global honour an athlete can earn in his lifetime after David Rudisha in 2010.
The other finalists for the men were Christian Coleman (USA), Kevin Mayer (FRA), Mondo Duplantis (SWE) and Abderrahman Samba (QAT).
In the women’s category, Caterine Ibarguen was a worthy winner of the IAAF Athlete of the Year 2018. A rich 2018 had seen her claim the triple and long jump honours in the Central American and Caribbean Games, the Continental Cup and the Diamond League finals to become the first jumper ever to hold the three titles simultaneously.
Ibarguen had enjoyed an unbeaten year in all of the eight trip jump marquee events she had contested in. With a world-leading mark of 14.96m in the triple jump and a national record of 6.93m in the long jump category.
Dina Asher-Smith (GBR), Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN), Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH) and Nafissatou Thiam (BEL) were the other sporting personalities who had made the final cut for their exceptional achievements in their specialist fields in 2018.
Before the awards ceremony, the IAAF had shortlisted the final five-man list for both the awards based on a three-way voting process. The IAAF Council and the IAAF Family cast their votes by email, while fans voted online via the IAAF’s social media platforms to select the nominees for the IAAF Athlete of the Year 2018 award.
Among the other winners on the night who walked away with the trophy under their arms were Sweden’s 19-year-old pole vaulter Armand Duplantis who won the men’s rising star award and American 400m runner Sydney McLaughlin who walked away with the women’s rising star award.