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Kenyan marathon runner Kipchoge
bags UN Person of the Year Award   

By Naftali Mwaura NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s long-distance runner and current holder of the world marathon record Eliud Kipchoge, was named the 2018 United Nations Person of the Year on Wednesday for harnessing sports to advance the welfare of humanity.

The 33-year-old father of three, who smashed the world marathon record by clocking a time of 2:01.39 during the Sept. 16 Berlin Marathon, pledged to use his athletic prowess to advocate for youth empowerment and an HIV-free planet.

“This UN Person of the Year Award is a recognition of my efforts to inspire the youth to realize their full potential. I will use this award to sensitize communities about HIV/Aids and promote wildlife conservation,” Kipchoge said.

Monica Juma, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, was joined by UN officials and diplomats at a ceremony to present the 2018 UN Person of the Year Award to Kipchoge.

“We celebrate the recognition by the UN of Kipchoge’s huge contribution to the advancement of values like hard work, service to humanity and unity,” Juma said. “As a country, we recognize Kipchoge for embodying strength and resilience that the current generation of youth requires to achieve their goals,” she added.

Juma said that Kenya is banking on its youthful population to promote development that is inclusive and peaceful. Kenyans from all walks of life have bagged the UN Person of the Year Award since its inception in 2002 for promoting causes that make a difference in the lives of communities.

Siddharth Chatterjee, the UN Resident Coordinator said Kipchoge has stood out from a large army of Kenyan long-distance runners by advocating for the health of communities, environmental sustainability and youth empowerment.

“Eliud Kipchoge is not only a champion and a mentor for the youth but is also a tireless advocate for sustainable development goals,” Chatterjee said. 

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