Photo: American decathlete Ashton Eaton and Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia. World Athletes of the Year 2015 (Getty Images)
American decathlete Ashton Eaton and Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia were today announced as the IAAF Male and Female athletes of the year for 2015.
This year’s awardees were not privileged to enjoy the atmosphere of the glitz and glamour as well as standing in the moment at the IAAF’s Annual Gala Dinner usually held in Monaco. This was cancelled due to the doping issues that have rocked the sport of track and field in the last few weeks.
Eaton broke his own world record to win the decathlon World title in August. The 27 year old scored 9,045 points in Beijing in his first decathlon in two years to beat his own world mark of 9039 points. Eaton won the award ahead of the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and fellow countryman triple jumper Christian Taylor. He is the first Decathlete to achieve such a feat.
“Athletes spend the most vigorous years of human life, arguably called the ‘best years’, working to hone their abilities,” Eaton said. “I’m grateful and thankful to the IAAF for excellent competitions, the canvases that allow us to display our work.” he continued while speaking to IAAF reporters.
Dibaba who narrowly missed last year award to another field athlete, managed to beat back the challenge of Poland Hammer Thrower Anita Wlodarczyk and Dutch superwoman Daphne Schippers. She is the second Ethiopian woman to claim the top award, after Meseret Defar did so in 2007.
The Ethiopian had a fabulous year in which she broke the 23 year old, 1500m world outdoor record in July in Monaco with a time of 3min 50.07sec. . She ran a tactical race to cross the line in 4:08.09 to win her first – and long awaited – outdoor senior global title in this event in Beijing.
She earlier this year in February, achieved her third world indoor record of her career when she clocked a stunning 14:18.86 for 25 laps of an indoor track to break the 5000m indoor record. She won the 5000m bronze medal at the World Championships.
When asked about her achievement and the reward Dibaba said “I am humbled and honoured to receive this award from the IAAF. It feels so good to be the World Athlete of the Year. After being a finalist and narrowly missing out on this award one year ago, I am very proud to be recognised by the fans and experts of our sport.”