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Friend's email: AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Award 2012 Presentation Thursday, 7 February 2013, 2:29 pm Press Release: AIMS - Association of International Marathons Tiki Gelana Becomes First Female Ethiopian Winner Of The Aims/Asics World Athlete Of The Year Award The world running organisation the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and awards sponsor ASICS are delighted to announce Ethiopian athlete Tiki Gelana as the female AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year for 2012. Today in Marugame, Japan, Gelana’s outstanding achievements in the past year were given global recognition during a presentation after the Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon. President Emeritus of AIMS Hiroaki Chosa and AIMS Board Member and Vice President of the Japanese Athletics Federation Dr Keisuke Sawaki presented Tiki Gelana with the acclaimed Golden Shoe Trophy during an awards ceremony at a media event after the Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon, which took place today, Sunday, 3rd February 2013. Tiki Gelana (25) becomes the first female Ethiopian winner of the AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Award. She joins her male compatriots Gezahenge Abera (2000) and Haile Gebrselassie (2006, 2007 & 2008) in winning this prestigious award. She 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 5-minute victory in Rotterdam, where she became the fifth woman ever to break 2:19 for the Marathon. The following week Mary Keitany won the London Marathon in the only faster time posted during the year, but when both went to London for the Olympic Games Marathon it was Gelana who triumphed. Despite an early fall she stayed in the ever dwindling group until, with 4km left, she made a strong push for the finish, persisting even when it seemed it was to no effect. Only in the final kilometre did she start to edge ahead of her three remaining rivals, crossing the line in a new Olympic record of 2:23:07. She further improved her half marathon best to 1:07:48 in finishing third on the "assisted" course of the Great North Run in September. 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 AIMS. Previous female winners include Liz McColgan (GBR), Uta Pippig (GER), Tegla Loroupe (KEN), Naoko Takahashi (JPN), Catherine Ndereba (KEN), Paula Radcliffe (GBR), Mizuki Noguchi (JPN), Lornah Kiplagat (NED), Constantina Dita (ROM) and Mary Keitany (KEN). AIMS President Paco Borao comments: “I am delighted that AIMS can recognise this fantastic athlete with the AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Award. Tiki demonstrated excellent form in 2012 culminating in her magnificent Gold Medal winning performance at the London Olympic Games. It is with great pleasure we recognise her achievements on behalf of the 350 members of AIMS in over 95 countries throughout the world. I would like to give special thanks to everyone involved in the Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon who made this presentation possible as part of this fantastic event.” [....]

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