Africans Earn World Recognition In Athletics.

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In Monaco on Monday evening, the International Athletics Federation (World Athletics) deviated from its tradition of naming one male and one female “Athlete of the Year” and instead honored six exceptional athletes for their outstanding performances across various categories.


Among the recipients, Kenyan middle-distance runner Faith Kipyegon, aged 29, earned recognition in the “track” category. Her remarkable achievements in 2023 included breaking three world records in the 1,500m (3 min 49.11 sec), the mile (approximately 1,609m in 4:07.64), and the 5,000m (14:05.20, later surpassed). Notably, Kipyegon also secured the 1500/5000 double at the world championships in Budapest, a historic feat she reflected on, saying, “I never expected to do what I did, to break three world records and win two gold medals.”

 

American sprinter Noah Lyles, acknowledged as this year’s fastest man globally, joined Kipyegon in the “track” category. Lyles showcased his dominance in world sprinting by triumphing in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m events in Budapest. Reflecting on the significance of the 100m title, Lyles stated, “The 100m was the most important because I’ve always known I was the fastest man on the planet, but nobody was going to believe me without this title.” The 26-year-old aims to add Olympic gold to his illustrious list of achievements in the upcoming year.

 

In the “field event” category, Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis, who elevated the pole vault world record to 6.23m, and Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas, the triple jump world champion and record holder (15.74m in 2022), were duly honored. Their exceptional performances in their respective disciplines stood out in a year of remarkable athletic achievements.

 

Turning to the “road” category, Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum and Ethiopia’s Tigst Assefa received recognition for their extraordinary marathon world records of 2:00:35 and 2:11:53, respectively. Looking ahead, Kiptum aims to push his limits further and approach the mythical two-hour barrier at the Rotterdam marathon in April.

 

The decision by World Athletics to expand the “Athlete of the Year” awards beyond the usual two recipients underscores the extraordinary accomplishments across track, field, and road events. The diversity of talents showcased by these athletes reflects the global nature of athletics and the relentless pursuit of excellence on different fronts.

 

As the curtain falls on a memorable year in athletics, the spotlight now shifts to the aspirations and challenges awaiting these exceptional athletes in the upcoming season. Whether it’s breaking records, securing Olympic gold, or pushing the boundaries of human achievement, these athletes continue to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide with their dedication, skill, and unwavering pursuit of greatness.

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