Ethiopia's Tiki Gelana is World Athlete of the Year

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia's London 2012 Olympic Games marathon champion Tiki Gelana has been named the female AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year for 2012.

President Emeritus of AIMS Hiroaki Chosa and AIMS Board Member and Vice President of the Japanese Athletics Federation Dr Keisuke Sawaki presented Tiki with the Golden Shoe Trophy during an awards ceremony at Marugame, Japan last Sunday after she had won the Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon earlier in the day.
Tiki, 25, becomes the first Ethiopian woman to win the AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Award. She joins her male compatriots Gezahegn Abera (2000) and Haile Gebrselassie (2006, 2007 and 2008) in winning the award.

Tiki started 2012 with a runaway win and personal best of 1:08:48 in the Marugame Half Marathon but that was just a warm-up for a decisive five-minute victory in the Rotterdam Marathon, where she became the fifth woman to break 2:19 for the distance when she ran a national record of 2:18:58.

The AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Awards were founded in 1992 and are decided each year from nominations made by the 350-member races of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS).

AIMS President Paco Borao said: "I am delighted that AIMS can ecognise this fantastic athlete. Tiki demonstrated excellent form in 2012 culminating in her magnificent Gold Medal winning performance at the London Olympic Games."

The men's 2012 AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year will be named soon.