Cheptegei is destined for greatness

By James Bakama

Added 20th October 2019 06:40 PM

Cheptegei is amongst 11 nominees for the prestigious IAAF world athlete of the year award.

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Cheptegei is amongst 11 nominees for the prestigious IAAF world athlete of the year award.

It has been a great season for Joshua Cheptegei and don’t be surprised if the world’s top long-distance track athlete also winds up the year in style.
Cheptegei is amongst 11 nominees for the prestigious IAAF world athlete of the year award.
He has been selected together with superstars like the world’s fastest man Christian Coleman (USA) and the first man to run the marathon under two hours Eliud Kipchoge.
Others on this prestigious list are Timothy Cheruyiot (Kenya), Steven Gardiner (Bahamas), Donovan Brazier, Sam Kendricks, Noah Lyles, Christian Taylor (USA), Daniel Stahl (Sweden), and Kirsten Warholm (Norway).
All these are big names with huge achievements but Cheptegei is still amongst those who stand out on the list for his outstanding form.
The Ugandan’s name is undoubtedly amongst the favorites for his World Cross-country, Diamond League and Doha World Championship gold medals.
No Ugandan has ever soared to such heights in a single season. Cheptegei also stands out in Africa.
Save for Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot who won both the World and Diamond 1500m titles and 10 of his 11 outdoor races across all distances, no African comes close to Cheptegei.
Should Cheptegei eventually emerge as the top man, he would have made history as not only the first Ugandan but also African outside Algeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa to win the award.
Introduced in 1988, this award is IAAF’s top accolade annually awarded to the top male and female athletes. Americans Carl Lewis and Florence Grifith-Joyner won the inaugural award.
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt at five times is the biggest winner of the title. He is together with Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj in that special club of people who have won it three consecutive times.
Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva is at three titles the most successful woman. She is also the only woman to win two consecutive accolades.
Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele, Almaz Ayana, Genzebe Dibaba, Mesret Defar and Hestrie Cloete are Africa’s other winners.
Kipchoge, who set the marathon world record on in Berlin last year, and Colombian triple jumper Caterine Ibarguen were the 2018 winners.
A three-way voting process will determine the finalists.
The IAAF Council and the IAAF Family will cast their votes by email, while fans can vote online via the IAAF's social media platforms.
Individual graphics for each nominee were posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram last week; a 'like' on Facebook and Instagram or a retweet on Twitter will count as one vote.
The IAAF Council’s vote will count for 50% of the result, while the IAAF Family’s votes and the public votes will each count for 25% of the final result.
Voting for the Male World Athlete of the Year closes on 4 November. At the conclusion of the voting process, five men and five women finalists will be announced by the IAAF.
The male and female World Athletes of the Year will be announced live on stage at the World Athletics Awards on November 23 in Monaco.
My prayer is that Ugandans responded to the respective social media platforms. This is where local athletics authority UAF must lead a mobilization campaign.
It will be unfortunate for our own to lose out simply because we were laid back.

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