IN MONTE CARLO, MONACO
Eliud Kipchoge’s confidence is infectious.
The world marathon record-holder’s philosophical look at things quite inspiring.
Vintage Kipchoge didn’t disappoint on Tuesday at a press gathering ahead of this year’s IAAF World Athlete of the Year awards at the Le Meridien Hotel here with sound bytes that excited global athletics journalists.
Quotes to die for.
“Of course Eliud Kipchoge! That’s why I’m here!” the Olympic Marathon champion responded to a question on whom he thinks will be named 2018 world athlete of the year when the annual ceremony is held tonight at the Grimaldi Forum in downtown Monte Carlo.
Then asked about his plans for the future, he responded: “I want to do something special. I don’t know which one. Keep your ears and eyes open.”
This was in response to a question on whether he would rather make another attempt at running a sub two-hour marathon or improving on his own world record of two hours, one minute and 39 seconds over the 42-kilometre distance.
One journalist then asked him what his 2019 plans were.
His response was equally legendary.
“I will roll over my plans when January comes – are you planning to be at the press conference in Tokyo?”
A hint that he is focused on defending his Olympic marathon title at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
And to crown it all, after the press question and answer session, Kipchoge, who was accompanied by team-mate and training partner Geoffrey Kamworor, surprised journalists in the room.
“Wait, Eliud has a surprise for all of you,” International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) deputy director of communications, Anna Legnani, who moderated the forum, said.
Then Kipchoge’s manager Valentijn Trouw then tore into the room with a pile of coffee table books.
“Eliud Kipchoge 2:01:39” was the title of the book written and edited by British freelance journalist Steve Landells and produced by Kipchoge’s NN Running Team which operates under his management company, Global Sports Communications.
Every journalist in the room received a copy that Kipchoge patiently autographed.
Even students attending the press briefing were lucky to tuck the souvenir book, which looks back at Kipchoge’s recent distance running career, into their school bags.
At tonight’s awards ceremony, Kipchoge is up against US world indoor 60 metres record holder Christian Coleman, Sweden’s pole vault European champion Armand Duplantis, France’s decathlon world record holder Kevin Mayer and Qatari hurdler Abderrahman Samba.
In the women’s section, Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech, who improved the world steeplechase record by eight seconds, running 8:44:32 at the Monaco Diamond League meeting in July, comes up against British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, Colombian jumper Caterine Ibarguen, sprinter Shauane Miller-Uibo of The Bahamas and Belgian heptathlete Nafissatou Thiam.
Kipchoge, winner of the London and Berlin marathons this year, the latter in the new world record time of two hours, one minute and 39 seconds, said him winning the overall athlete tonight would be respect shown to his efforts.
“It means the whole world will be believing my story,” he said.
“Believing in my hard work and in what I’m doing for the sport in this world.”
The 2018 IAAF World Athlete of the Year Awards ceremony will be held from 7.15pm local time tonight, or 9.15pm Kenyan time.
Kenyans and Kipchoge’s management and fans all over the world, have their fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, the IAAF was expected to name Hungarian capital Budapest as hosts of the 2023 IAAF World Championships.
A decision by the IAAF Council on the hosts of the 2021 IAAF World Cross Country Championships is yet to be reached.
More to follow…..