Swedish pole vaulter Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis was named male athlete of the year, while Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas took female honours at athletics’ annual awards ceremony on Saturday.
Duplantis, a world silver medallist in Doha last year, set a world record by clearing 6.17m in Torun, Poland, in February and then bettered that by one centimeter in Glasgow the same month.
He also produced the highest-ever outdoor pole vault jump when he cleared 6.15 meters to win gold at the Rome Diamond League meeting in September. The 21-year-old won all 16 of his meetings this year to register a perfect season.
“It was a really strange season, for me and everybody, but I was able to put it together and get some pretty good results,” said Duplantis, who is the youngest athlete to win the award.
“I just wanted to go out there and show the world what I was capable of and put my name out there with some big performances. I was able to do that and had some good heights, especially during the indoor season.”
‘I’m filled with happiness’
Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, American Ryan Crouser (shot put), German Johannes Vetter (javelin) and Norwegian Karsten Warholm (400m hurdles) were the other male finalists at the virtual ceremony.
Rojas set the South American indoor triple jump record when she bounded 15.03m in Metz, France and then broke the 16-year-old world indoor triple jump record when she leapt 15.43 meters at the Madrid World Athletics Indoor Tour meeting.
<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MeetingMadrid2020?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MeetingMadrid2020</a> ¿Cómo fue? Así FUE.<br><br>¡21 DE FEBRERO 2020 HISTÓRICO!<br>__<br>🙌<br>__<br><br>YULIMAR ROJAS IMPONE RÉCORD DEL MUNDO DEL SALTO TRIPLE INDOOR 15,43.<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/VuelaYuliVuela?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#VuelaYuliVuela</a> <a href=”https://t.co/4OKNp9t27G”>pic.twitter.com/4OKNp9t27G</a>
“I honestly didn’t expect this, I really cannot believe it,” said Rojas. “It is such a joy and I’m filled with happiness.
“This victory means a lot to me and to all of those who work with me every day… Being the best athlete of the year is an additional inspiration for me for 2021.
Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan (10,000m), Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey (5000m), Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir (half marathon) and Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah (100m/200m) were the other female finalists.
Kenya’s sub-two-hour marathon man Eliud Kipchoge and American 400m hurdles world record holder Dalilah Muhammad were the 2019 winners.