Kipchoge is first Kenyan to win two World Athlete of the Year Awards
Eliud Kipchoge is slowly becoming synonymous with making history.
The world marathon record holder became the first Kenyan runner to win multiple World Athlete of The Year Awards after being crowned 2019’s finest at a colourful gala in Monaco on Saturday.
Kipchoge was, for the second year running, crowned Male World Athlete of the Year in what was the icing on a sweet 2019 cake that saw him begin by winning the London Marathon in a course record time of 2:02:37 in April before making history by becoming the first man to run 42km under two hours when he clocked 1:59.40 in Vienna, Austria last month.
The award seems to have been a big surprise to Kipchoge who did not travel to Monaco for the gala with many feeling he stood no chance since his heroics in Vienna were not recognised by World Athletics.
“It was really a special moment for me becoming the first human being to run under two hours. I am happy to inspire a whole generation,” the 35-year-old told the gathering via Skype from Kenya.
Kipchoge, the second Kenyan to win the prestigious award since David Rudisha’s record-breaking feat in 2012, joins an exclusive list of multiple winners such as Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt (six), Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj (three), Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele (two) as well as Americans Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson who have two apiece.
The Olympic champion beat world 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, world 400m hurdles winner Karsten Warholm of Norway and Americans Noah Lyles (200m world champion) and world pole vault champion Sam Kendricks to the award.
However, the hopes of a first-ever Kenyan double were dashed when women marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei lost to American Dalilah Muhammad who set two world records in 2019 and also won the world 400m hurdles title.
Meanwhile, Ireland-born Kenyan-based veteran trainer Brother Colm O’Connell, who has coached hundreds of athletes among them world 800m record holder David Rudisha, won the Coaching Achievement Award for his outstanding work in Kenya over the years.