Justin Lagat wrote this piece on the SOYA awards from Safaricom for 2018. Justin writes a column once a week for us on the running in culture of Kenya. Justin is a kean observer of the sport.
Eliud Kipchoge, Beatrice Chepkoech and Edward Zakayo win Safaricom SOYA Awards in Kenya
The Safaricom SOYA (Sports Personality of Year Awards), an event founded in 2004 by former world marathon record holder, Paul Tergat with an objective to recognize outstanding performers in sports in Kenya, took place in Mombasa this Friday, the 11th of January 2019. This was the first time that the event was conducted outside Nairobi in its 15th edition.
It was an elaborate event attended by Kenya’s sports cabinet secretary, Rashid Echesa; Ivorian sprinter, Marie Ta Lou; Mombasa governor, Ali Joho, among other prominent people in the sports industry in Kenya.
Marathon great, Eliud Kipchoge outshone everyone else on the list of the nominees that included Conseslus Kipruto and Elijah Manangoi to emerge as the overall sports personality of the year.
Having already won the IAAF sportsman of the year award earlier, the SOYA award was almost certain for the marathon world record holder who set an incredible world record of 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
David Rudisha, Vivian Cheruiyot, Caleb Ndiku and Julius Yego are some of the stars who have won this award in the past editions.
Beatrice Chepkoech who also set an amazing world record of 8:44:32 for the women’s 3000m steeplechase event at the Monaco Diamond League meeting emerged as the Sports woman of the year beating other nominees in her category that included fellow athlete, Hellen Obiri and other stars from other sports. Besides the world record, Chepkoech had also won titles at the African championships in Asaba, at the Continental Cup in Ostrava and a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, besides dominating the steeplechase event at the 2018 IAAF Diamond League circuit.
Kenya’s 5000m star, Edward Zakayo won the award of the most promising boy. Zakayo had beaten Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega in a competitive race to win the African title in Asaba.