Joel Omotto @omottojoel
Marathon great Eliud Kipchoge could end 2018 in style after he became the only Kenyan on the final list of five IAAF Male World Athlete of the Year nominees.
Kipchoge, alongside compatriots Timothy Cheruiyot and Emmanuel Korir, had been shortlisted among 10 athletes to battle it out for the prestigious award but after the list was whittled down to the final five, the world marathon record holder was the only survivor from Kenya.
He is joined on the list of five by World Indoor 60m champion American Christian Coleman who holds the world indoor record and world lead as well as winning the IAAF Diamond League 100m Trophy, European pole vault champion Armand Duplantis of Sweden, decathlon world record holder Frenchman Kevin Mayer and Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba who has a world lead and was unbeaten in nine finals at 400m hurdles, setting the world’s quickest time since 1992.
Kipchoge set a world marathon record of 2:01:39 in Berlin, Germany in September, shattering the previous mark of 2:02:57 set on the same course by compatriot Dennis Kimetto in 2014.
His incredible winning time was a full 78 seconds better than the previous mark, the first time the world record had been lowered by more than a minute in a race for 39 years and the single greatest improvement for 51 years.
Kipchoge started his season in impressive fashion by winning the London Marathon in April before his Berlin heroics which earned him the United Nations Kenya Person of the Year Award last month.
He is among favourites for the award which comes with a $100,000 (Sh10 million) reward and Kenyans will be hoping that he can follow in the footsteps of David Rudisha who claimed the 2010 award after a brilliant season that saw him break the world 800m record twice in as many weeks.
Rudisha is the only Kenyan to have won the award and with world 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech making the cut in the women’s equivalent on Monday, there is hope that it could be coming home.
A three-way voting process determined the finalists. The IAAF Council and the IAAF Family cast their votes by email, while fans voted online via the IAAF’s social media platforms.
The IAAF Council’s vote counted for 50 per cent, while the IAAF Family’s votes and the public votes each counted for 25 per cent of the final result.
The male and female World Athletes of the Year will be announced live on stage at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2018 gala on December 4 in Monaco.