World Marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum and to-time Olympic 1,500m gold medalist Faith Kipyegon on Monday night joined Ethiopian record holder Tigist Assefa in the list of winners of the World Athletes of the Year for 2023.
Kiptum and Kipyegon set world records in their respective events in 2023, while all six World Athletes of the Year secured world titles or major marathon wins.
Joining the Kenyan duo are world 3000m steeplechase bronze medallist Faith Cherotich and world 800m silver medallist Emmanuel Wanyonyi who won this year’s Rising Stars awards.
When it came to compiling the votes, athletes, fans and World Athletics Family members commented that it was incredibly hard to limit the vote to just one athlete, because of the various disciplines and the vast differences in skill sets required.
As a result, for 2023 the World Athlete of the Year awards have been divided into three event categories: track, field and out of stadia.
Kiptum-Men’s World Marathon record holder
Kiptum won the Men’s World Athlete of the Year out of stadia award.
Kiptum also achieved his world record in a World Athletics Platinum Label road race, running 2:00:35 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October.
Becoming the first athlete to break 2:01 in a record-eligible marathon, the 24-year-old Kenyan won the race by almost three and a half minutes and took 34 seconds off Eliud Kipchoge’s previous world record.
Just one year on from his marathon debut, Kiptum now has three of the seven fastest times in history to his name having also won the TCS London Marathon in April in 2:01:25.
Assefa-Women’s World Marathon record holder
The moment of the year for Assefa came at the BMW Berlin Marathon in September, when the Ethiopian 27-year-old ran 2:11:53, smashing the world record by two minutes and 14 seconds and achieving the biggest single improvement on the mark for 40 years.
She finished almost six minutes ahead of her nearest rival after clocking 1:06:20 for the first half and an even faster 1:05:33 for the second half – a time that just seven women have beaten this year in a standalone half marathon.
Kipyegon-Women’s 1,500m and mile record holder
Kipyegon set world records at an incredible three distances during a season in which she also achieved a golden double at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23.
First, the 29-year-old Kenyan improved the world 1500m record to 3:49.11 in Florence, taking almost a full second off the previous mark.
Just one week later, and despite having raced the 5000m just twice before, she improved the world record for that event, too, clocking 14:05.20 in Paris to shave 1.42 seconds from the old record.
Her third world record came in Monaco, where she smashed the previous mile mark by five seconds, clocking 4:07.64. Then, in Budapest, she won her third senior world 1500m title and her first world 5000m crown.
World Athletes of the Year for 2023
Women’s track: Faith Kipyegon, KEN, 1500m/mile/5000m
Women’s field: Yulimar Rojas, VEN, triple jump
Women’s out of stadia: Tigist Assefa, ETH, marathon
Men’s track: Noah Lyles, USA, 100m/200m
Men’s field: Mondo Duplantis, SWE, pole vault
Men’s out of stadia: Kelvin Kiptum, KEN, marathon