Eliud Kipchoge and Dalilah Muhammad have been named the male and female World Athletes of the Year at the World Athletics Awards 2019, held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on Saturday (23).
Kipchoge, the winner of the award last year, added to his phenomenal marathon CV in 2019. In April he captured his fourth victory at the London Marathon with a 2:02:37 course record, the third fastest performance of all time. The 35-year-old Kenyan followed up in October by blasting through the distance’s two-hour barrier with a 1:59:40.2 performance at the Ineos159 Challenge in Vienna.
Muhammad, 29, broke the world record in the 400m hurdles twice this year, first with a 52.20 performance at the US Championships in July to eclipse a mark which had stood since 2003. Muhammad broke it again at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, clocking 52.16 in one of the championships’ most eagerly-awaited finals to claim the world title for the first time. Muhammad also won world gold in the 4x400m relay and won five of her seven races.
Male Rising Star – Selemon Barega
Barega, 19, was the silver medallist in the 5000m at the World Championships, and finished fifth in the senior race at the World Cross Country Championships Aarhus 2019. The Ethiopian also produced world U20 leads at both the 5000m and 10,000m with 12:53.04 and 26:49.46, respectively.
Female Rising Star – Yaroslava Mahuchikh
Mahuchikh, the 2017 world U18 champion, continued her ascension into the high jump elite at the World Championships where she twice broke the world U20 record, first with a leap of 2.02m and again with a clearance of 2.04m to secure the silver medal. The 18-year-old also won the European U20 title.
Coaching Achievement – Brother Colm O’Connell
During a coaching career that has spanned more than four decades, O’Connell, an Irish missionary who has lived in Iten, Kenya, since 1976, has coached 25 world champions and four Olympic gold medallists, including Wilson Kipketer and David Rudisha, the World Athletes of the Year in 1997 and 2010, respectively. Kipketer presented him with his award.
Fair Play Award – Braima Suncar Dabo
Dabo, a distance runner from Guinea-Bissau, made headlines around the world after he helped fellow runner, Jonathan Busby of Aruba, to the finish line during their opening round heat of the 5000m at the World Championships. Busby was near collapse with about 200 metres left in the race, when Dabo stopped to help his distressed fellow competitor.
Presidents Award – Vikki Orvice
Orvice, a long-time British athletics journalist for The Sun, passed away last February after a long battle with cancer. Orvice served as chairperson of the British Athletics Writers Association (BAWA) between 2003 and 2005, the first woman to be appointed the role. She was also vice-chair of the Football Writers Association, one of the directors of Women In Football and a member of the IAAF Press and Media Operations Advisory Group.
Woman of the Year – Derartu Tulu
The Ethiopian distance running legend who won Olympic 10,000m titles in 1992 and 2000, Tulu has served as acting president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation since November 2018. She is also a Council member of the African Athletics Confederation and vice president of the East Africa Athletics Region.
Athletics Photograph of the Year – Felix Sanchez Arrazola
The Spanish photographer’s image of a jubilant Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce moments after winning her fourth world 100m title was judged to be the winner from this year’s shortlist of four photographs. Arrazola also won the award in 2019.