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Lyles, Kipyegon named track athletes of the year

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PARIS: American sprinter Noah Lyles and Kenya's Faith Kipyegon were named the men's and women's track athletes of the year by World Athletics on Monday.


Lyles was recognised for the three gold medals he won at the world championships in Budapest.


After an all-conquering 2023, the 26-year-old will now turn his focus to next year's Paris Olympics where he is targeting gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay and has said he will also aim for a spot in the US 4x400m relay quartet.


In Budapest, he scorched to gold in the 100m in 9.83sec for his first global title in the short sprint.


"I've always known I was the fastest man on the planet but no one would have believed me unless I had the 100m title," Lyles said.


"That changed the way that people have viewed me a little bit, especially outside of the sport," he added.


Kipyegon clinched the women's prize after setting three world records in the 1500m, the mile and the 5,000m.


She also completed a 1500m-5,000m double at the world championships.


"It was a magnificent year," the 29-year-old said.


"I didn't expect what I did this year, breaking three world records and winning two gold medals.


"It was a historical year for me and I'm very very happy and I know it's not only what I did for myself but I know I inspired many young girls out there," she added.


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Sweden's Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis won the men's field athlete of the year award after he improved his pole vault world record to 6.23m.


Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas took the women's field award after winning her fourth world outdoor triple jump title.


Awards were also given to Tigist Assefa of Ethiopia who sliced more than two minutes off the women's marathon time in Berlin in September, the biggest single improvement on the mark for 40 years.


The equivalent "out of stadia" award for men went to Kelvin Kiptum, the Kenyan who ran a world record 2:00:35 in the Chicago Marathon in October, taking 34 seconds off Eliud Kipchoge's previous record.


"The depth of talent and the outstanding performances in our sport this year more than justify the expansion of the World Athletics Awards to recognise the accomplishments by these six athletes across a range of disciplines," said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.


"Our World Athletes of the Year alone have achieved seven world records between them in 2023, as well as a host of world titles and major wins, so it is only fitting that they be recognised as the athletes of the year in their respective fields," he added. — AFP


World Athletes of the Year for 2023:


Women's track: Faith Kipyegon (KEN)


Women's field: Yulimar Rojas (VEN)


Women's out of stadia: Tigist Assefa (ETH)


Men's track: Noah Lyles (USA)


Men's field: Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis (SWE)


Men's out of stadia: Kelvin Kiptum (KEN)


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