Nation Sports Editor Elias Makori was on Saturday named the World Journalist of the Year at the annual awards ceremony of world track and field association, the IAAF, at the five-star Skipper Pullman Hotel in Barcelona.
Makori was handed the prestigious award by the chairman of the 2012 London Olympic Games, Sebastian Coe, at a ceremony that also crowned Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and American Allyson Felix as the IAAF 2012 male and female athletes of the year with Kenya’s David Rudisha walking away with the Performance of the Year award.
Trininad and Tobago’s retired sprinter, Ato Boldon, was the master of ceremonies at the awards gala and paid tribute to Makori and the media in general for promoting athletics.
It was the first time an African journalist had received the prestigious award.
“I’m overwhelmed by the honour. To share the same stage with such great as Usain, Allyson and Rudisha, and to receive the award from Coe, who delivered to the world great London Olympic and Paralympic Games, is definitely the highlight of my career,” said Makori. “I thank my editors and colleagues at the Nation Media Group, my family and fans for encouraging me and helping me building my career and I hope this award inspires upcoming sports and athletics journalists in Kenya as I believe our level of sports journalism is improving by the day, and is up there with the rest of the world.”
This year’s awards ceremony, held as the International Association of Athletics Federations celebrates its centenary, was the first time a journalist was awarded on the same stage as the world’s top athletes.
Makori, 41, was among four journalists nominated for the award in the last two years with Frenchman Alain Billouin winning the 2011 award.
Billouin has specialised in athletics for 34 years at leading daily sports newspaper, L’Equipe, and has covered all the major events from the 1972 Munich Olympics to the Sevilla World Championships in 1999.
The others nominated last year were Luis Vinker, sports editor at Clarín, Argentina’s largest circulation daily, from 1977, and currently director of the Special Programmes Section for the “Clarín” Media Group and Britain’s Daily Mail veteran Neil Wilson who in 1985 was chosen as Sportswriter of the Year by the British Press Awards.
“Makori generated the most impressive ever coverage from an IAAF Day in the Life project (featuring top Ethiopian athletes) and is a passionate supporter of athletics,” Anna Lengani mentioned in Makori’s nomination document.
Makori was also commended for his London Olympic Games coverage for the Nation in July and August.