World record marathon record holder, Kelvin Kiptum has expressed delight after cracking the coveted list of the five finalists for men’s World Athlete of the Year honours.
The five athletes, drawn from four countries attached to four athletic associations, made the list after posting masterclass acts in a wide array of athletics disciplines in 2023.
They clinched titles and smashed world records at the Budapest 23 World Athletics Championships, one-day meeting circuits, Label road races, and other events around the world.
Kiptum, 23, grabbed the global headlines after storming the Chicago Marathon title and smashing the World record in the process.
He clocked 2 hours and 35 seconds to shatter compatriot Eliud Kipchoge’s record of 2:01:09 set at the 2022 Berlin Marathon.
“I already feel like a winner just making it to the final list but I hope to achieve a lot more and possibly win the accolade,” Kiptum remarked in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
Kiptum said he was not surprised by his masterstroke performance in Chicago last month where he shattered Eliud Kipchoge’s world record, claiming he always believed in his potential to attain new heights over the distance. “I always knew one time I’d be a world record holder, ” Kiptum remarked.
It was the first time a world record was recorded in Chicago since Moroccan Khalid Khannouchi’s exploits of 2:05:42 on October 24, 1999.
Kiptum blazed to the 2023 London Marathon title — his second marathon ever — in 2:01:25, just 16 seconds shy of Eliud Kipchoge’s world record.
He made his marathon debut during the 2022 Valencia Marathon, where he raced to the fastest debut in history.
He opted out of last month’s Berlin Marathon to save his energy for the Chicago Marathon, which attracted 47,000 runners.
Other nominees for the honours include Indian Neeraj Chopra who is both the reigning javelin world and Asian Games champion.
American Ryan Crouser, who is the current shot put world record holder also made the list.
Also nominated is Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis who is the pole vault World and Diamond League champion.
Sensational American sprinter Noah Lyles who holds the 100m and 200m will also be flexing muscles with the rest of the nominees.
A three-way voting process determined the finalists where the World Athletics Council and the World Athletics Family cast their votes by email, while fans logged their decisions online via the World Athletics social media platforms where a record two million votes were registered.
Voting closed on 28 October. The World Athletes the Year will be announced on World Athletics’ platforms on 11 December, as part of the World Athletics Awards 2023.