(Reuters) – Swedish pole vaulter Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis was named the male athlete of the year, while Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas won the women’s title 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 centimetre in Glasgow the same month.
He also produced the highest-ever outdoor pole vault jump when he cleared 6.15 metres 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.”
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 metres at the Madrid World Athletics Indoor Tour meeting.
“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.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)