Kenya: Kipchoge aims for a hat-trick in soy titles while Omanyala is shortlisted

Nairobi — World record holder Eliud Kipchoge is hoping to complete a hat-trick in Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) titles after being in the top 5 shortlist for the 2021 Sportsman of the Year award.

However, Kipchoge, the winner of 2018 and 2019, has to contend with sensational 100m Africa record holder Ferdinand Omanyala, Tokyo Olympics 800m gold medalist Emmanuel Korir, 7s star from Kenya Alvin ‘Buffa ‘ Otieno, and African Rally Champion Carl Flash’ Tundo.

In 2021, Kipchoge defended the Olympic title, becoming the third man to do so. Omanyala broke national and African records before reaching the semifinals in Tokyo, while Korir won his first major gold with the 800m gold.

Otieno, on the other hand, was the Most Valuable Player at the Safari 7s and was instrumental in Kenya winning silver at the Vancouver 7s while Tundo ruled the continent at the African Rally Championships (ARC).

The winner will be announced Tuesday, January 25 in Kakamega County at the annual black tie event sponsored this year by Kakamega County, Lotto Foundation, CPF Financial Services, National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and Safaricom .

-Omanyala exploits-

Omanyala made history at the Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first Kenyan to reach the men’s 100m semifinals.

He equaled his 100-meter national record with a time of 10.01 in the first round, where he finished third and eventually advanced to the semifinals.

Omanyala would later settle for third place in a new national record time of 10:00 on August 1, though he did not reach the final.

He moved to Europe where he became the first Kenyan to run under 10 seconds when he won his 100m semi-final in a new national record time of 9.96 seconds at the international JOSCO running meeting on August 14 in Austria.

He would shed another microsecond and win the final that same day in 9.86 seconds, which was the fastest time run on Australian soil.

He then made his Diamond League debut in Brussels on September 3, becoming the first Kenyan to compete in the 100 meters at the event. He finished fourth in a time of 10.02.

Omanyala broke the African record in the 100 meters, finishing second in 9.77 behind American Travon Bromel, who won the Absa Kip Keino Classic in 9.76.

That made him the fastest man in the world behind Bromwell that season and the eighth fastest man in history.

He had set a new national record in the 100 meters earlier in the season when he won his semi-final race at the MOC Grand Prix on March 3 at 10:01am in Nigeria to qualify for the Olympics before defeating the final 10:05 won.

He would confirm his Olympic qualification if he won the national trials at the Olympic Trials in 10.02 on June 17th.

Another player deserving of accolades is fast-rising rugby star Alvin Otieno, aka Buffa.

Otieno was the MVP for Kenya at the Vancouver 7 where Kenya reached the final for the first time since 206, although the team lost 33-14 to South Africa to take silver and also led the team to bronze at the Edmonton 7.

He finished fourth overall in the World Series top tries chat with 11 tries this season, level with South African captain Siviwe Soyizwapi and two behind top scorer at South Africa’s Muller du Plessis.

Otieno has made 64 appearances for Kenya so far, scoring 27 tries.

Also worth mentioning is motorsport ace Tundo, who is increasingly causing a stir in the discipline.

The five-time Safari Rally winner currently leads the Africa Rally Championship after posting victories in the Equator Rally, the tally of Tanzania and Zambia, navigated by Tim Jessop in a motorsport Volkswagen Polo RS.

At the World Rally Championship (WRC) he finished ninth overall while on the spot he leads the Kenyan National Rally Championship with two stages remaining after wins at Machakos, Nanyuki.

He finished ninth in the WRC Safari Rally, where Carl Tundo was crowned the winner of the Africa Rally Championship.

Tundo then won the Gorilla Rally navigated by his longtime partner Tim Jessop.

-Kipchoge-

Kipchoge is another athlete who deserves to be recognized with the Sports of Year Ward award.

The marathon world record holder won the Enschede Marathon in 2:04:30 in Enschede, Netherlands on April 18 before defending the Olympic marathon title at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games in 2:08:38 on August 8.

In addition to winning the gold medal in Tokyo, he became the only third-place finisher to win two Olympic titles in a marathon, cementing his place as one of the best, if not the best, marathoners of all time.

On September 9, Kipchoge established the Eliud Kipchoge Foundation, which prioritizes child education and reforestation in part of Kenya.

Another athlete, Emmanuel Korir, has also taken the country by storm and is already a role model for many.

Korir finished third in the Olympic trials but gave Kenya its first victory at the Tokyo Olympics by winning the men’s 800 meters on August 4 in 1:45:06 after finishing second in the semifinals.

First of all, this was Korir’s first title, which brought him fame in his rural village.

Korir finished third in the Prefontaine Classic and second in the Lausanne stages of the Diamond League to advance to the grand final in Zurich on September 9, where he won the Diamond League in the 800m. He won the race in 1.44.56, which was his second victory since the 2018 conquest.

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