Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei misses World Athlete of the year crown

Ugandan long distance runner Joshua Cheptegei lost the World Athelete of the year crown to pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis of Sweden on Sunday.

Duplantis broke the world record in the pole vault twice, topping 6.17m and 6.18m on back-to-back weekends in February just a few weeks before the global coronavirus pandemic ground the sporting world to a halt. When competition finally resumed, Duplantis capped his season and produced the highest outdoor vault of all time (6.15m) and finished the year undefeated in 16 competitions.

Duplantis, who celebrated his 21st birthday last month, is the youngest athlete ever named World Athlete of the Year.

“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.

Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela was crowned the female athlete of the year, after upstaging Ethiopian long distance runner Letesenbet Gidey, Dutch long distance runner Sifan Hassan, Kenyan Half Marathon star Peres Jepchirchir and Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah.

Rojas broke the South American indoor triple jump record in her first competition of the year, reaching 15.03m in Metz, France. At the World Athletics Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid, she leaped 15.43m in the final round of the competition to break the world indoor record by seven centimetres.

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