In a dazzling ceremony held in Monaco on Monday, the International Athletics Federation (World Athletics) celebrated the exceptional achievements of athletes who left an indelible mark on the track, road, and field events throughout the year. Departing from tradition, World Athletics expanded its recognition, honoring six outstanding athletes in various categories.
Faith Kipyegon, the 29-year-old Kenyan middle-distance runner, stole the spotlight in the “track” category. Her phenomenal year included breaking three world records in the 1,500m (3:49.11), mile (4:07.64), and 5,000m (14:05.20, later surpassed). Kipyegon, who clinched the 1500/5000 double at the Budapest world championships, expressed her astonishment, saying, “It’s been a wonderful year. I never expected to do what I did, to break three world records and win two gold medals.”
Meanwhile, Noah Lyles, the American sprinter, secured his place in the “track” category after dominating the world sprinting scene by winning the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m in Budapest. Lyles, acknowledged as the fastest man in the world this year, emphasized the significance of his 100m victory, stating, “I’ve always known I was the fastest man on the planet, but nobody was going to believe me without this title.”
The “field event” category saw honors bestowed upon Mondo Duplantis of Sweden, the pole vault maestro who elevated the world record to 6.23m, and Yulimar Rojas from Venezuela, the triple jump world champion and record holder (15.74m in 2022).
In the “road” category, marathon enthusiasts celebrated the remarkable feats of Kelvin Kiptum from Kenya and Tigst Assefa from Ethiopia. Kiptum set a stratospheric marathon world record of 2:00:35, with aspirations to challenge the mythical two-hour barrier in the upcoming Rotterdam marathon in April.
As these athletes basked in the glory of their achievements, the Monaco ceremony underscored the exceptional talent and dedication that graced the world of athletics in 2023. The stage is now set for another thrilling year, with Noah Lyles eyeing Olympic gold and Kelvin Kiptum gearing up for a historic pursuit in Rotterdam.