Monaco - Kenyan
marathon master Eliud Kipchoge and Colombian jumper Caterine Ibarguen
won the IAAF men and women's 2018 awards on Tuesday.
Kipchoge set a new marathon world record in Berlin in September,
smashing the previous best by an incredible 78 seconds as he clocked 2:01:39. The 34-year-old Olympic champion's effort was the largest
single improvement on the marathon world record since Derek Clayton
improved the mark by 2:23 in 1967.
Acclaimed as the greatest marathon runner of the modern era, Kipchoge
has dominated marathon racing since making his debut in Hamburg in 2013
after a successful track career that saw him win world gold and silver
(2003, 2007) in the 5 000m and Olympic silver and bronze (2008, 2004)
over the same distance.
He has notched up 10 wins from the 11 marathons he has raced, winning
three times not only in Berlin but also London, with victories in Rio
for Olympic gold as well as in Hamburg, Rotterdam and Chicago.
"This award means a lot to me," said Kipchoge, crediting his children as being his "ignition key".
"It's a tribute to the hard work that I've put in during my career."
Kipchoge came agonisingly close to sporting immortality by nearly
running the first sub two-hour marathon last year. He missed the
mythical mark by just 25 seconds. But the race conditions at the
Nike-sponsored event were so favourable - Kipchoge ran behind a six-man
pacesetting team and was trailed by a time-keeping vehicle on a racing
circuit in Monza, Italy - that the time was not recognised by the
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
"Going under two hours is just 25 seconds away," said Kipchoge in Monaco.
Ibarguen, also 34, 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.
Sweden's 19-year-old pole vaulter Armand Duplantis won the men's
rising star award after equalling the second best ever vault with 6.05m
at the European champs in Berlin in August.
"Pole vaulting's a very strange discipline," said Duplantis.
"All the stars aligned for that one meet."
Handed the award by France's Renaud Lavillenie, the world record holder with a best of 6.16m, Duplantis was in a playful mood.
"I think I can jump higher than you," he said when asked by Lavillenie on how high he could go.
American Sydney McLaughlin won the women's rising star award after
setting a world junior indoor 400m record of 50.36 in March.
That was followed up two months later with an outdoor 400m hurdles
mark of 52.75 - a world junior record and the fastest time recorded