Omanyala, Aoko listed among 220 heroes on special day in Kirinyaga

NATIONAL |

Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala celebrates after 100m final during The Kip Keino Classic-World Athletics Continental Tour 2021 at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on September 18, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The fastest man in Africa, Ferdinand Omanyala, is among 220 heroes and heroines feted by President Uhuru Kenyatta during Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kirinyaga County, yesterday.

Omanyala, from Trans-Nzoia County, was recognised for his achievements in the Nigeria Grand Prix race in April, where he won with a time of 10.01 seconds, Olympic pre-trials in Kenya where he won after ticking 10.13 seconds, Olympic trials where he did 10.02 seconds, and the Olympic Semi-finals, where he clocked 10.00 seconds.

He also participated in the Austria Grand Prix, where he won after clocking 9.86 seconds (a national record, 23rd all-time best time, 8th fastest time in the world 2021). Others include the Lahti Motonet Grand Prix, where he won after clocking 10.09 seconds (broke 26-year-old stadium record).

Omanyala also participated in the White City Games Find Land, and won with 10.06 seconds, Brussels Diamond League, where he came fourth after clocking 10.02 seconds, as well as Best med invitational in South Africa, where he won with a time of 10.06 seconds.

The president recognised 13-year-old Virginia Aoko from Busia, she who rowed a boat at night across crocodile-infested waters when it flooded last year, to take her expectant mother to a health centre. She was honoured for exhibiting exemplary, rare qualities of heroism, sacrifice and bravery.

In the Judiciary, Justice Effie Owuor from Nairobi was recognised for being Kenya’s first female High Court Judge. She also became the first female Judge of the Court of Appeal, the highest then before the Supreme Court became a reality in 2010.

“…in a career spanning over three decades, she presided over criminal, family and succession cases in between heading the national task forces that reviewed the Children’s Act being a member of the Njonjo Commission of Inquiry, the first woman to sit in a Commission of Inquiry,” said Uhuru.

Civil servants with more than 30 years of service, artistes and musicians were feted under the special category with gospel musician Peterson Githinji alias Pitson being recognised for volunteering and composing music of hope and resilience during the Covid-19 period.

Pitson is a songwriter and performer. He has taken part in composing music for national day celebrations.

Another artiste, Chris Adwar, who is a pianist, song writer, performer, music producer, audio engineer and director, was recognised for volunteering and composing songs for Covid-19 awareness. He has performed during national day celebrations.

Virginia Aoko,13, rescued her mother who was in labour by rowing her at night to a distant health facility to deliver safely. [Courtesy]

Linet Akinyi Otieno, a renowned Luo benga musician wo is famously known as Linet Aluoch Pamba, was feted for her role in production of music during Madaraka Day celebrations this year.

Elly Mirasi Akumu aka Dr Osito Kalle, a Luo benga musician, was recognised for exemplary performance and show of patriotism during the Madaraka Day celebrations this year.

Award winning gospel musician Fenny Kerubo from Kisii was recognised for being among the artistes who have shown patriotism during national days. ?

Shammer Kyalo Kiawa, a prolific broadcaster, script writer, producer and director of various TV drama programmes, notably Vioja Mahakamani, Vitimbi and Jee, Huu ni Ungwana, was feted for his brilliant broadcasting skills that impacted the country positively.

The President also recognised Richard Gitonyi from Kirinyaga for his role in the Mau Mau liberation struggle, which later gave birth to Kenya’s independence. He was recognised as a community opinion leader and a cultural icon; a true son of the soil.

Manish Shah Ramniklal from Nairobi was honoured for his philanthropic activities to the society such as offering free eye cataract services, donating free walking canes to the visually impaired and supporting cerebral palsy children at Ribeiro Primary School.

Ramniklal also sponsors and educates 200 students, donates 50,000 food packs to the less fortunate periodically and organises medical camps for cancer victims.

The President recognised freedom fighters for their bravery and statesmanship. They include Esther Wanjuru Kisi (Nyeri), Waweru Kihia (Nyeri) Jacob Wasike Wamacheche, Nelson Njoka Gachoki (Kirinyaga), Helekiah MA Lomo (Kisumu), Jeremiah Nduati Mwaniki (Kiambu), Gladys Wanjiku Maina (Nairobi), Joseph Chege Kamau (Nairobi), Geoffrey Mwai and Joshua Muthigi (Kirinyaga).

Others were Mururi Njuguna (Murang’a), Raphael Maina King’ori (Nyeri), Beatrice Muthoni Njuguna (Murang’a), Patrick Mathai Ndei (Nakuru), Benjamin K Ngatia Wambugu (Nyeri), Mary Njoki Karanja (Nyandarua), Muchina Mwangi Mukoke (Kiambu), Harold Muthondu Kabiru, Wilson Kimani Karau (Kiambu), Hannah Wanjiku Murogo (Kiambu) and Makori Mangera (Kisii).

Robert Gakuo Nyaga (Laikipia), Michael Mungai Kimani (Nairobi), Nelly Wanjiru Kanyari (Kiambu), Loise Wambui Njoroge (Nyandarua) and Philis Kariuko wa Njagi, Fredrick Muriithi Murage Charles Murimi Kabui, Benson Njege Waru, Agnes W Wairiri and Abraham Mbaranyo Mboi all from Kirinyaga were also feted.

The President also feted business woman Agnes Kagure, who had previously been touted as former Governor Mike Sonko’s deputy following Polycarp Igathe's resignation in 2018.

She was nominated for her immense contribution in establishment of a business empire with outlets in DRC and South Sudan in pharmaceuticals, hotel and insurance sectors. Kagure was also recognised for initiating and promoting community empowerment programmes.

Athletes were not left behind, as Dennis Oliech “the menace” had a light shone on him for his exemplary professional football career that saw him represent the country at Africa and World Cup Qualifiers. He also played professional football in Qatar and France.

Ruth Chepngetich from Kajiado, who is also the current World Half Marathon Champion gold medalist, was also feted. She is the former Half Marathon record holder 2021 April in N Kolay Istanbul Half marathon, Istanbul and an Olympian in marathon. Chepngetich was the 2019 Gold medalist in Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.

Humphrey Khayange was recognised for his contributions to Kenya Sevens Rugby. He was part of the winners in the Singapore series, 2016, having also competed in the World Rugby Seven Series (2005-2016).

Khayange is brother to record holder Collins Injera. He is also the chair of Nock Athletes' Commission, and an executive Board member at the Kenya Academy of Sports. Khayange is also the Secretary General at Mwamba Rugby Football club, World Rugby panel member (player of the year awards) and the Rugby Afrique Performance Committee member. He was recently appointed to the IOC Member of the Athletes' Commission (2021).

Other athletes honoured are Olympian Delilah Asiago, who won the Dubai marathon in 2006, and Peres Jepchirchir, who is a Gold medalist in Tokyo 2020 women marathon among others.

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