Eliud Kipchoge and Caterine Ibarguen have been named the male and female World Athletes of the Year at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2018, held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on Tuesday (4).
Kipchoge 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.
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.
The34-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 U20 record three times within the competition. He went over 5.95m, 6.00m 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 U20 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 U20 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 U20 athlete at 300m and 400m, clocking 36.12 and 50.36 respectively. She ended the year as the world U20 leader for the 200m indoors and outdoors, the 400m indoors and outdoors, the 400m hurdles and the 300m indoors.
IAAF President’s Award – Andreas Brugger
A former shot putter and Swiss champion in the event back in 1955, Andreas Brugger, now 91, is best known for his tenure as meeting director of Zurich’s iconic Weltklasse.
During his time in the role, 19 world records were set at Weltklasse and he transformed it into one of the most prestigious meetings in the world.
IAAF Coaching Achievement of the Year – Joe Vigil
In his 50-year coaching career, Joe Vigil has worked as US team coach on two Olympic teams, seven IAAF World Cross Country Championships and four Pan American Games.
Over the years he has guided the likes of 2004 Olympic marathon champion Stefano Baldini, Olympic silver medallist Meb Keflezighi, Olympic bronze medallist Deena Kastor and 2013 world 800m silver medallist Brenda Martinez. In total, athletes he has coached have achieved 20 medals at global championships.
IAAF Woman of the Year Award – Evelyn Claudio Lopez
Puerto Rico’s Evelyn Claudio Lopez has dedicated her life to promoting the cause of women’s athletics. She is Chairperson of the NACAC Women’s Commission and General Secretary of the Association of Pan-American Athletics. She is also part of the IAAF’s Gender Leadership Working Group and in 2013 she produced a book, Living History of Women’s Athletics.
Athletics Photograph of the Year – Felix Sanchez Arrazola
The Spanish photographer’s image of an exhausted and mud-splattered Selemon Barega after winning the Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza in Elgoibar was judged to be the winner from this year’s shortlist of four photographs.