General News Marugame, Japan

Ethiopia's Gelana named 2012 AIMS female World Athlete of the Year

President Emeritus of AIMS Hiroaki Chosa, Tiki Gelana and Vice President of the Japanese Athletics Federation Dr Keisuke Sawaki (AIMS)President Emeritus of AIMS Hiroaki Chosa, Tiki Gelana and Vice President of the Japanese Athletics Federation Dr Keisuke Sawaki (AIMS) © Copyright

Ethiopia’s London 2012 Olympic Games Marathon champion Tiki Gelana was named as the female AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year for 2012 in Marugame, Japan, on Sunday (3).

President Emeritus of AIMS Hiroaki Chosa and AIMS Board Member and Vice President of the Japanese Athletics Federation Dr Keisuke Sawaki presented Gelana with the acclaimed Golden Shoe Trophy during an awards ceremony after she had won the Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon earlier in the day.

Gelana, 25, becomes the first Ethiopian women to win the AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Award. She joins her male compatriots Gezahenge Abera (2000) and Haile Gebrselassie (2006, 2007 & 2008) in winning this prestigious award.

She started 2012 with a runaway win and personal best of 1:08:48 in the Marugame Half Marathon but that was just a warm-up for a decisive five-minute victory in the Rotterdam Marathon, where she became the fifth woman to break 2:19 for the distance when she ran a national record of 2:18:58.

The following week Mary Keitany won the London Marathon in the only faster time posted during the year, but when both went to London for the Olympic Games it was Gelana who triumphed.

Despite an early fall she stayed in the ever dwindling leading group. In the final kilometre, she started to edge ahead of her three remaining rivals, crossing the line in a new Olympic record of 2:23:07. She then further improved her Half Marathon best to 1:07:48 when finishing third in the Great North Run in September.

The AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Awards were founded in 1992 and are decided each year from nominations made by the 350 member races of AIMS.

AIMS President Paco Borao commented: “I am delighted that AIMS can recognise this fantastic athlete with the AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Award. Tiki demonstrated excellent form in 2012 culminating in her magnificent Gold Medal winning performance at the London Olympic Games. It is with great pleasure we recognise her achievements on behalf of the 350 members of AIMS in over 95 countries throughout the world. I would like to give special thanks to everyone involved in the Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon who made this presentation possible as part of this fantastic event.”

Tiki Gelana commented: “To be named as AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year is a fantastic honour. To see my name alongside such legendary names in the sport is an incredible feeling. I would like to also extend my thanks to AIMS for their support and all sponsors who make this prestigious award possible.”

The men’s 2012 AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year will be named in the near future.

Previous winners of the AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year.

Year

Male Winner

Female Winner

1992

Benson Masya (KEN)

Liz McColgan (GBR)

1993

Dionicio Ceron (MEX)

No Award

1994

Vincent Rousseau (BEL)

Uta Pippig (GER)

1995

No Award

Tegla Loroupe (KEN)

1996

Paul Tergat (KEN)

Uta Pippig (GER)

1997

Josia Thugwane (RSA)

Tegla Loroupe (KEN)

1998

Ronaldo da Costa (BRA)

Tegla Loroupe (KEN)

1999

Abel Anton (ESP)

Tegla Loroupe (KEN)

2000

Gezahenge Abera (ETH)

Naoko Takahashi (JPN)

2001

Josephat Kiprono (KEN)

Catherine Ndereba (KEN)

2002

Khalid Kannouchi (USA)

Paula Radcliffe (GBR)

2003

Paul Tergat (KEN)

Paula Radcliffe (GBR)

2004

Stefano Baldini (ITA)

Mizuki Noguchi (JPN)

2005

Jaouad Gharib (MAR)

Paula Radcliffe (GBR)

2006

Haile Gebrselassie (ETH)

Lornah Kiplagat (NED)

2007

Haile Gebrselassie (ETH)

Lornah Kiplagat (NED)

2008

Haile Gebrselassie (ETH)

Constantina Dita (ROM)

2009

Sammy Wanjiru (KEN)

Mary Keitany (KEN)

2010

Patrick Makau (KEN)

Liliya Shobukhova (RUS)

2011

Geoffrey Mutai (KEN)

Mary Keitany (KEN)