Nairobi Dec 24 (Xinhua) -- Kenya once more proved its prowess in track and field. As the curtains draws on the eventful 2018 season, one of the biggest stars name that captured the country's performance was of Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge.
The 33-year-old Kenya was crowned the IAAF 2018 Athlete of the Year Award for his performance in the 42km distance becoming the epitome of success for any aspiring athlete. For a man who has only tested loss once in six years, Kipchoge proved that with discipline, hard work and focus anyone can attain his best mark and go on to conquer the world.
He showed great humility even after breaking the world marathon record in Berlin clocking 2:01:39 taking off one minute and 18 seconds off the previous mark set by compatriot Dennis Kimetto. But still at his hour of glory, Kipchoge said he is done celebrating and only focuses on the next challenge.
"My inspiration is about doing something great for athletics. I don't celebrate because I know the victory was for Kenya and for my fans. I have no plans yet for 2019, but my management and coach will make a decision on where I will compete next," said Kipchoge.
Kipchoge, the fastest man on the marathon (2:01:39), was competing with another world record holder, Kevin Mayer (Decathlon), Sweden's Armand Duplantis (champion European Pole vault with a jump of 6.05m), the Qatari Abderrahman Samba (2nd performance in history over 400m hurdles) and American sprinter Christian Coleman.
However, his star performance in 2018, which saw him win against hot conditions in London and Berlin, showed of a man who is a true legend of athletics.
In the women category, Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech came close to claiming the overall IAAF top athlete. Her new world record in the 3000m steeplechase of 8:44.32 saw her become the first woman to break 8:50 and 8:45 barriers.
She was up against British Dina Asher-Smith (sprint), Colombian Caterine Ibarguen (triple jump), Shaunae Miller-Uibo from Bahamas (sprint) and the Belgian Nafissatou Thiam (heptathlon). Ibarguen was eventually crowned the IAAF athlete of the year.
The Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim (High Jump) and the Belgian Nafissatou Thiam (Heptathlon) were crowned in 2017.
Beyond the awards, Africa was at the center stage at the IAAF Continental Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic. The various innovations and changes in format resulted in two entertaining days of action at the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018. But ultimately the teams from Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific could not compete with the might of the Americas as they won 18 of the 37 events on their way to lifting the trophy.
The Americas extended their advantage and eventually won with 262 points edging out defending champions Europe, who finished second with 233 points with Asia-Pacific taking third place (188) ahead of Africa (142).
At the Diamond League contest, the premier of track and field competition, nine African athletes were among the winners of the 2018 season, whose finals were contested in Zurich and Brussels.
Kenya again proved to be the team to beat as it had five out of the nine athletes claiming the IAAF Diamond Trophy, which comes with US Dollars 50,000 to boot and an automatic ticket to the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.