JOHANNESBURG, December 23 – Illustrating the fierce competitiveness of athletics at the moment, just five athletes will begin their 2019 seasons with unbeaten streaks of 10 or more competitions.
Topping that list is world and Olympic champion Caster Semenya of South Africa, who extended her undefeated streak in the 800m to 29 finals this year, a campaign that included victories at the Commonwealth Games, African Championships, IAAF Diamond League final and IAAF Continental Cup.
Her streak began at the African Games in Brazzaville on 14 September 2015, eight days after an eighth-place finish at Berlin’s Internationales Stadionfest.
The other four are Shaunae Miller-Uibo from the Bahamas, China’s Gong Lijiao, Mauritania-born Abderrahman Samba, who races for Qatar, and Colombian Caterine Ibarguen.
But arguably the most impressive win streak record belongs to Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, this year’s Male World Athlete of the Year.
When the 34-year-old Kenyan crossed the finish line at September’s Berlin Marathon with a jaw-dropping 2:01:39 world record, it was Kipchoge’s ninth straight victory over the distance, a phenomenal achievement given the limited competitive schedules available to the world’s finest marathon runners.
Underscoring that record is that each of those nine races was of the highest quality: seven were part of the World Marathon Majors series and another was the 2016 Olympic final.
His streak began in Rotterdam on 13 April 2014 where he clocked 2:05:00 in another quality race.
Over the course of his career, Kipchoge has contested the distance 11 times and has only lost once, finishing second in Berlin in 2013 where he clocked 2:04:05.
Others who rode periods of solid momentum this year included Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou (100m) and Kenyan Hellen Obiri (5000m), whose streaks ended at eight.
– African News Agency (ANA)