Jelimo on the brink of a Sh7.8 million pay out

Pamela Jelimo of Kenya holds up two fake gold bars after receiving one million dollars after winning the women's 800m race event in the IAAF Golden League Memorial Van Damme athletics meeting in Brussels. The Olympic champion had a quiet 2009 due to injury and her return to action will be one of the main attractions of 2010. Photo/ REUTERSPHOTO/ FILE

There will be a Sh7.8 million prize up for grabs for the winner of the IAAF World Athlete of The Year Award in Monaco on Monday and Africa and Olympic 800 champion Pamela Jelimo is one of those tipped to win it.

Six finalists have been selected out of the initial 20 athletes that were picked out by a special panel appointed by the International Association of Athletics Federation.

Another Kenyan Samuel Wanjiru who ended the country’s jinx in winning its first Olympic gold medal in marathon was named in the first round of 20 athletes but was axed after the voting.

No Kenyan winner

In the 20 year history of the IAAF World Athlete of the Year award, there has bee no Kenyan winner though they have been selected in the first rounds.

However, Jelimo at 19 years and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt with three gold medals in last Olympics have every chance of scooping the award if his past history is anything to go by.

Both Jelimo and Boit were unknown at the start of the season but now stand on the brink of another major achievement.

Bolt 22, took up the 100m race a year ago after spirited debate with his coach, who wanted him to concentrate on his speciality 200m.

In 2007, Jelimo made her first trip abroad and won the 400m race at the Africa junior championship in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

A year later Jelimo, made her debut at the senior level after advice to compete in the 800m racein record time and capped it all as the first Kenyan to win an Olympic gold before winning the IAAF Sh80 million ($1 million) golden league jackpot.

Jelimo has also set five World Junior records and four African senior records at 800m, won the African Championships and remained undefeated through the season.

Virtually unknown quantity even in Rift Valley province save for her village Koyo, Jelimo star is shining bright and tomorrow, it might just be another milestone in her young career.

Kenya’s world champion Luke Kibet will race in next month’s Singapore marathon, organisers said on Thursday.

Kibet, who became the first Kenyan in 20 years to win a marathon gold medal at the world championships when he triumphed in Osaka last year, will pound the city-state’s streets on Dec. 7.

High profile runner

“The participation of such a high profile runner ensures that we are on track with our plans in growing (the marathon) into a premier running event not just locally but also internationally,” Singapore Athletic Association President Loh Lin Kok said.

The 25-year-old Kibet will be up against compatriot Elijah Mbogo who won the 2007 race on his debut.

Hat-trick of crowns

Fellow Kenyan Amos Matui, who crossed the line just two seconds behind Mbogo last year while chasing a hat-trick of Singapore crowns, is also in the 2008 field.

The 42.195 kilometre race will start at 0530 local time in a bid to beat the stifling heat in the Southeast Asia republic.

Additional Reporting by Reuters