The year 2018 was a memorable one for a few chosen athletes who dominated their respective disciplines, carting away tons and tons of accolades, trophies and the financial rewards that come with it.
So here are our pick for the top five athletes who conquered the year 2018.
1. Eliud Kipchoge
The year 2018 has arguably the pinnacle of the Kenyan marathoner’s illustrious career. On September 16, he put his name in the annals of history as the greatest all time marathoner by smashing the 42km race world record in Berlin, Germany with a jaw-dropping time of 2:01.39. For his achievement, Kipchoge, who is also the Olympics marathon champion, was duly awarded the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year Award on December 4, 2018 in Monaco. Amazingly, Kipchoge has to date won 10 of his last 11 marathon races. That notwithstanding, Kipchoge has set his sights on even bigger things in the coming year.
2. Luka Modric
The 32-year-old Croatian did just about enough to dethrone Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s as the world’s best footballer this year. Modric also managed to end Ronaldo and Messi’s domination over this award which stretches back 10 years. Formerly at Tottenham, Modric was the standout player for Real Madrid in a campaign which saw the Merengues claim a 13th Uefa Champions League crown and a third in a row. He also starred for Croatia at the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia where his country lost in the final to France. He was voted the tournament’s best player for his stellar show.
3. Michael Olunga
The Kenyan striker helped Kenya qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in over one and a half decades. Tall, quick and deadly, Olunga has given Kenyans hope. He scored against Ethiopia in the qualification matches and caused so much trouble for the much fancied Black Stars of Ghana in Nairobi on September 8, 2018, when Harambee Stars came out 1-0 winners. In him, Kenyans believe the country has finally replaced the one and only Dennis ‘the Menace’ Oliech.
4. Mohammed Salah
The Egyptian striker has blossomed, and Africa is proud. He has been so effective that Liverpool supporters have instantly forgotten about Phillipe Coutinho’s transfer to Barcelona. He scored 36 goals in total last season and also led the Reds to the Uefa Champions League final in May. He was also recently voted BBC African Player of the Year for the second time in a row.
5. Kylian Mbappé
The 20-year-old French youngster was voted the Best Young Player at the 2018 Fifa World Cup and was awarded the Kopa Trophy at the 2018 Ballon d’Or award. He has also been impressive for PSG and is tipped to be the heir apparent to living legends Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.