The first Kenyan to win the IAAF Athlete of the Year Award, David Rudisha, on Wednesday welcomed Olympic marathon champion and World marathon record holder, Eliud Kipchoge to the club.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and Sports cabinet secretary Rashid Echesa were among Kenyans who congratulated Kipchoge after he was named the 2018 IAAF Athlete of the Year Male at a colourful ceremony in Monaco on Tuesday night.
While hailing Kipchoge for becoming the second Kenyan to win the award in 2010, Rudisha said that Kipchoge’s victory is a clear example of what patience, persistence, hard work and discipline can yield no matter the challenges.
Rudisha noted that he embraced athletics in Class Seven, a year before Kipchoge won the World 5,000m in 2003 and went on to win the World Junior 800m title in 2006 besides the World and Olympic 800m title twice each. Rudisha won the World 800m titles in 2011 Daegu and 2015 Beijing bedside the Olympic gold from London 2012 and Rio 2016. Rudisha triumphed in 2012 London in style, breaking how own World record for the third consecutive time in 1:40.91.
Kipchoge set a new marathon world record in Berlin in September, smashing the previous best by an incredible 78 seconds as he clocked 2hr 1min 39sec.
The 34-year-old Olympic champion's effort was the largest single improvement on the marathon world record since Derek Clayton improved the mark by 2:23 in 1967.
Acclaimed as the greatest marathon runner of the modern era, Kipchoge has dominated marathon racing since making his debut in Hamburg in 2013 after a successful track career that saw him win world gold and silver (2003, 2007) in the 5000m and Olympic silver and bronze (2008, 2004) over the same distance.
He has notched up 10 wins from the 11 marathons he has raced, winning three times not only in Berlin but also London, with victories in Rio for Olympic gold as well as in Hamburg, Rotterdam and Chicago.