There is something special about Joshua Cheptegei. His career is illuminated more than any other Ugandan runner before and after he won the men’s 10000m gold at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar nine days ago.
By becoming the only Ugandan to win more than a medal at the Worlds, Cheptegei was Monday announced among the nominees for the annual IAAF Male Athlete of Year Award.
Cheptegei becomes the first Ugandan in history to make the 11-man shortlist made by a panel of athletics experts with representation from IAAF’s six continental areas.
The 23-year-old overcame a life threatening accident in December last year and recovered to win the men’s 10km race at the IAAF World Cross-country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark on March 30.
He then stunned Ethiopians to bag the men’s 5000m trophy at the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich, Switzerland on August 29 before conquering the 25-lap race at the Khalifa International Stadium with a world lead time of 26:48.36 in Doha.
“I am so grateful to God because He has fulfilled it for me,” Cheptegei said in a recent interview.
Cheptegei, who plans to break the 10km world record at the Valencia Trinidad Alfonso in Spain on December 1, is one of the three Africans nominated and will vie for the top honour against Kenyans Timothy Cheruiyot and Eliud Kipchoge.
Cheruyiot won 10 of 11 outdoor races, taking the DL trophy and world title over the 1500m. Kipchoge produced a course record as he won the London Marathon in April before becoming the first man to run a marathon under two hours in Vienna, Austria on Saturday.
The shortlist also has five American world champions Christian Coleman (100m & 4x100m relay), Noah Lyles (200m & relay), Donovan Brazier (800m), Sam Kendricks (pole vault) and Christian Taylor (triple jump).
Other world champions Bahamian Steve Gardiner (400m), Norwegian Karsten Warholm (400m hurdles) and Swiss Daniel Stahl (discus) complete the list.
“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,” IAAF said in a statement.
“Individual graphics for each nominee will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram this week; a ‘Like’ on Facebook and Instagram or a retweet on Twitter will count as one vote.”
50 percent of the result will be the IAAF Council’s vote whereas the IAAF Family’s votes and the public’s will each count for 25 percent of the final result.
The winner will be announced at the World Athletics Awards in Monaco, France on November 23.
2019 IAAF MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
NOMINEES: Joshua Cheptegei (UGA), Eliud Kipchoge & Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN), Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles, Donovan Brazier, Sam Kendricks & Christian Taylor (USA), Steve Gardiner (BAH), Karsten Warholm (NOR), Daniel Stahl (SWE)