Sun | Mar 29, 2020

Track And Field News picks Kipchoge, Semenya

Published:Saturday | December 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/ Gleaner Writer
Eliud Kipchoge

Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge and South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya are the Athletes of the Year.

That's the verdict from the respected United States athletics journal, Track And Field News. According to the magazine's website, Kipchoge and Semenya were voted into top spot by its 31-member international panel of experts.

Kipchoge won both the marathons he ran in 2018, with the second yielding a stunning world record, two hours 01 minute and 39 seconds in Berlin in September. That run was voted Performance of the Year with another world record, the decathlon all-time best score of 9126 points by France's Kevin Mayer not far off.

Kipchoge, the 2003 World Champion over 5000 metres, had earlier won the London Marathon in two hours, four minutes and 17 seconds.

While the selection of the 34-year-old Kenyan as men's Athlete of the Year by Track And Field News mirrored the choice last month by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the selection of Semenya presented a divergence. Undefeated at her prime distance of 800 metres, Semenya ventured into both the 400m, where she ran 49.62 seconds, and the 1500 metres, where her best was three minutes 59.92 seconds.

In a season where she won the Commonwealth Games and the Continental Cup, she clocked the four fastest times in the two-lap event and six of the fastest 10. Her best was one minute 54.25 seconds. That time makes her the fourth fastest in history.

The Track And Field News panel gave the 27-year-old South African 17 of the available 31 votes, having ranked Semenya number one in the 800m, number six in the 400m, and seventh in the 1500 metres. Her second best times in those events were 50.06 in the 400m and 4.00.44 in the metric mile.

The IAAF choice for Female Athlete of the Year, the Colombian triple jumper Caterine Ibarguen appears in fifth spot in the Track And Field News list. Ahead of her are Semenya; Kenyan 3000 metres steeplechase ace Beatrice Chepkoech who bounced back from an early loss to Jamaica's Aisha Praught-Leer at the Commonwealth Games to dominate the Diamond League and to lower the world record to eight minutes 44.91 seconds, Bahamian 200/400 metres runner Shaunae Miller-Uibo; and Russian high jumper Mariya Lasitskene.