Monday, 14 November 2011

IAAF World Athlete of the Year ...Vivian Cheruiyot surely deserved IT!

Over the weekend, the IAAF accorded the world's athletes a chance to wine and dine with some of the best in the sport and also honoured the finest athletes for the 2010-11 season at a gala dinner in the high-status island of Monaco. Kenya had a reason to watch this more carefully as two of its best athletes this season were among finalists in a selection for the top honours of World Athlete of the Year - Male & Female. But no it was not going to be ...A local daily had even splashed the story in a 2-page feature only to quickly apologise to its readers for the anomaly. Sally Pearson was named as the World Athlete of the Year- Female ( the Male one was always going to one of the Jamaicans after they wowed the world at the Athletics championships in Daegu taking the 100m, 200m & crowning it with the 4x100m relay in world record time).

So that we don't seem like we're just saying this to run our mouths & trumpet our nation's exploits, let's look at the facts and achievements here to show the difference between Vivian Cheruiyot and Sally Pearson;
Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya):
Vivian Cheruiyot

Gold - Africa Athletics  championship (5000m)- Nairobi
Gold - Commonwealth Games( 5000m)-  New Delhi, India
Gold - Continental Cup ( 5000m) - Split, Croatia
Silver - World Indoor  championships ( 3000m) - Doha, Qatar

Gold - World Cross-Country championships ( Senior Women) - Punta Umbria, Spain
NB: Helped Senior Women win overall title too. 
2 Gold - World Athletics championships ( 5000m & 10000m) - Daegu, South Korea
NB: She retained the 5000m which she won the 2009.

Sally Pearson ( Australia):
Gold: Commonwealth Games (100m hurdles) - New Delhi, India

Sally Pearson 
Gold: World Athletics championships ( 100m hurdles) - Daegu, South Korea
NB: Worthy mentions, broke National & Oceania record to 12.48 secs

While the IAAF used the 'excuse; that Sally won 10 of 11 competitions she entered, Vivian on the hand did not lose any race she was entered, even national trials which are usually a killer if you ask any Kenyan athlete. So that doesn't fly with us.( No offence to Sally Pearson's person, but the facts are just that FACTS!)

Maybe the IAAF powers-that-be know something we don't but for us, Vivian Cheruiyot remains the World Athlete of the Year and not the Performance of the Year b******t you awarded to this sterling lady. Maybe they had other thoughts of trying to appeal to a wider world audience especially for the people down under. or maybe Kenyans just threaten changing athletics' world order, wonder what would happen if an African sprinter upset the form book...

One John Velzian - a well-tested hand in athletics in Kenya who has helped map out consecutive routes of the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon as well as the 2007 World Cross Country championship track among others in country and the region; who also doubles up as a youth coach and training expert. He has seen the growth and development of athletics since the late 1950s to the current times. He was awarded the Coaching Lifetime Achievement Award ...( guilt conscience IAAF or what?).
Check out this article from the Sports Illustrated archives on this 'unappreciated' athletics legend in Kenya here 

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