Tributes Pour In For IAAF Male Athlete Of The Year Kipchoge

Dec 05 - by Erick Ochieng for sportpesa news

President Uhuru, his deputy Ruto and former premier Raila lead the nation in celebrating the distance running icon for his latest achievement as the Internet goes wild after the Olympic champion bags the big prize in Monaco

Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge poses next to president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Sebastian Coe and Prince Albert II of Monaco after receing the Male athlete of the year award during the IAAF athlete of the year awards ceremony, on December 4, 2018 in Monaco.PHOTO/ AFP

  • Kipchoge who won the 2018 London and Berlin marathons- the latter in the staggering 2:01:39 new standard became an instant trending topic as soon as his name was read out at the IAAF World Gala
  • Ruto remarked the accomplishment elevates the former 5000m world champion to the top of the world in his sport and assured his place in the annals of history
  • Others called for the Athens 2004 Olympics bronze winner and Beijing 2008 silver medallist to be decorated in the Jamhuri Day, the public holiday where the country marks becoming a republic (December 12) honours’ list

NAIROBI, Kenya- Jubilant Kenyans took to social media to shower Olympic champion world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge with praises following his crowning as the 2018 IAAF Male Athlete of the Year in Monaco on Tuesday night.

Kipchoge who won the 2018 London and Berlin marathons- the latter in the staggering 2:01:39 new standard became an instant trending topic as soon as his name was read out at the IAAF World Gala.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga led the nation in hailing the distance running icon as political heavyweights, local celebrities and ordinary folk posted thousands of congratulatory messages.

Kipchoge became only the second Kenyan in history to bag the coveted gong after fellow Olympic winner and 800m world record holder, David Lekuta Rudisha who took the honours in 2010.

“Congratulations Eliud Kipchoge for winning the 2018 IAAF Male Athlete of the Year Award. Your dominance in the marathon has not only propelled you to the history books of icons, but has also ensured Kenya remains a world leader in athletics. We are very proud of you,” Uhuru posted on social media.

Ruto remarked the accomplishment elevates the former 5000m world champion to the top of the world in his sport and assured his place in the annals of history.

“This is a thrilling, proud moment for Kenya. A legend of the game, Kipchoge deserves the highest accolade for his prowess, consistency, tact, endurance, dominance and strength of character. Well done!” Ruto celebrated.

“You have done Kenya proud. Keep inspiring our youth,” Raila congratulated the athlete who had a barnstorming 2018, coming only eight seconds shy of breaking the previous standard of 2:02:57 at London in April.

World athletics governing body IAAF and its local affiliate, Athletics Kenya (AK) complemented the runner who has won 10 marathons in 11 starts since stepping up from the track in 2012.

Sports potential

“The Kenyan destroyed the marathon world record in Berlin with 2:01:39, and won his third London Marathon title,” IAAF posted in explaining the reason why Kipchoge was a deserved winner of the accolade.

“Congratulations Kipchoge for winning the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year Award, this is a big plus for you and Kenya,” AK added.

His crowning saw others take the opportunity to underline the potential of sport as a vehicle to propel the country’s development. 

“Please, let the government focus on sports as an agenda. This is an industry that can create jobs for our youths and bring in foreign income,” Winston Omondi, replied to Uhuru’s post.

Some urged the State to put up modalities to honour athletes with dignity for their commendable achievements.

“Many Kenyan athletes are congratulated this way, but nobody cares for them after they retire. Give them a token of appreciation that will make their life better,” he challenged.

“Kipchoge (s) are the people whose billboards should be put on roads to remind the young generation of their great contributions to the country. 

“Not the kind of commercials I see lined up along Mombasa Road in praise of our politicians,” Robert Muga added in chiding authorities for plastering the major artery of the capital Nairobi with images of leaders.

Others called for the Athens 2004 Olympics bronze winner and Beijing 2008 silver medallist to be decorated in the Jamhuri Day, the public holiday where the country marks becoming a republic (December 12) honours’ list.

As a nation celebrated, the dark spectre of doping, the scourge that has soured the reputation of the country’s distance running excellence, was not far.

“A doping agency should be established in the (running talent catchment) areas. If this is done Kenya would have more genuine athletics stars,” a social media user, Dan Kigen, who called for state of art stadiums to be built in Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.