After being crowned as 2017 Athlete of the Year at the Athletics Kenya (AK) Golden gala on Thursday night, world 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi is eyeing top prize at the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, set for April 5-17.
The 24-year-old Manangoi, who took the wooden spoon at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, said he longs to compete at the club games before setting out to lower his personal best time of 3:28.80 set in Monaco Diamond league this year.
“I was bit disappointed with IAAF awards in Monaco last month. But I now feel appreciated and motivated with the award. I long for good things at the Commonwealth Games. I know most of my track rivals will line up, but I will give it my best,” said Manangoi.
Hellen Obiri, the AK Female Athlete of the Year and world 5000m champion, is yet to decide if she will fight for a place to the showpiece Down Under though she prepares to defend her title at the IAAF World Indoor Championships title in Birmingham, United Kingdom, on March 1-4.
“I’m happy to have won this award. It means a lot to me since 2017 has been a great year for me. I’m grateful,” said Obiri. “My focus is to retain my IAAF 3,000m title next season. At the moment, I haven’t really made up my mind Commonwealth Games.”
World Marathon Champion Geoffrey kirui, who won the Male Road Running Athlete of the Year, returns to Boston Marathon to defend his title in April which he won in two hours, nine minutes and 37 seconds. That was his third marathon.
Kirui, who won gold in 10,000m at the 2011 Africa Junior Athletics Championships in Botswana, said: “I didn’t expect it. I am delighted with the recognition.”