Renaud Lavillenie and Valerie Adams, crowned 2014 World Athletes of the Year
Written by Oshae Hudson November,22, 2014
France's pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie and New Zealand's shot putter Valerie Adams were named the respective male and female World Athletes of the Year for 2014 at IAAF World Athletics Gala held at the Chapiteau de Fontvieille, Monaco.
It was the first time in the history of the awards that field event athletes had won both accolades and was also the first time that a male pole vaulter or a female thrower had won the World Athlete of the Year award.
Strong woman Adams who had missed out on the award in past seasons has reaped the benefits of her hard work.
Despite not being at her best in, 2014, the Olympic champion managed to add a ninth senior global title to her collection when she successfully defended her World Indoor crown in Sopot and triumphed at the Commonwealth Games.
She was the only athlete in the world to win at all seven IAAF Diamond League fixtures in any discipline and was a clear winner of the women’s shot put Diamond Race. She turned back the challenge of Ethiopian athlete Genzebe Dibaba and Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands.
"This is the icing on the cake for 2014. It's been a year that's been physically challenging but I'm proud to be here for New Zealand and Oceania," commented Adams.
"There's been a lot of pain but I love what I do, I love competing. I'm mentally strong and I have a high pain threshold so that makes it easier," she added, with her delight evident for all to see
The Frenchman lavillenie won 21 of his 22 competitions in 2014, a series which included victories in the Diamond Race as well as at the European Championships and IAAF Continental Cup copped the award ahead of the outstanding Qatar high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim and Kenya’s distant runner Dennis Kipruto Kimetto.
The 28, had an almost perfect season which included setting a pole vault world record of 6.16m in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
"This season couldn’t have been better. This is really the dream season for me. I can only enjoy this and be very grateful to the whole athletics family," reflected Lavillenie.
"I think the world record contributed to the award, but I won other competitions too. I wasn’t as good as Valerie, I lost one competition, but 21 out of 22 is not too bad in an event which is quite unpredictable," he joked.
Other awards on the night saw the IAAF rising star award going to young French athlete Wilhem Belocian & Morgan Lake of Great Britian.
Belocian, 19, won the 110m hurdles at the IAAF World Junior Championships this summer in a world junior record time of 12.99, making his own mark as the first junior to run under 13 seconds over the barriers. His global victory added to his win at the 2013 European Junior Championships.
Lake, 17, achieved a unique double at the IAAF World Junior Championships in the US city of Eugene, winning both the heptathlon and the high jump and while still a youth as well. Her winning heptathlon total of 6148 points was a world youth best.
The IAAF world Journalist Award went to Marc Ventouillac of France.Ventouillac is head of athletics at renowned French sports newspaper l’Equipe and since 2003 he has been a member of the IAAF Press Commission.
Jamaican Veteran sports Journalist, Laurie Foster was among the nominees.