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Kipyegon and Kipchoge to battle Chelsea’s Mendy for BBC African Sports Personality of the Year

ATHLETICS By Washington Onyango | December 6th 2021
Kenya's Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon celebrates winning the final of the women's 1,500m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 7, 2017.  AFP PHOTO

Olympic 1,500m steeplechase champion Faith Kipyegon and Olympic Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge have been shortlisted for the BBC African Sports Personality of the Year award.

The two Kenyan athletes are among six contenders for the accolade who were chosen by a panel of journalists from Africa and the United Kingdom.

The panel selected a shortlist based on the best African sporting achievements on the international stage in 2021 (between January and September).

The impact of the person's achievement beyond their particular sport was also taken into account.

Others in the award include Olympic 200m silver medalist Christine Mboma of Namibia, Chelsea and Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and South African duo of Long jumper and 200m runner Ntando Mahlangu and Swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker.

The Standard Sports looks at Kipyegon and Kipchoge’s profiles as noted below;

Faith Kipyegon

Kipyegon was nominated after setting an Olympic record in Tokyo as she defended the 1,500m title she first won in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The Kenyan dedicated the win to her three-year-old daughter, whom she credits with giving her extra motivation after taking a 21-month break from the sport.

The dedication was all the more significant since Kipyegon is only the third athlete to retain an Olympic title after giving birth between Games (along with Australia's Shirley Strickland, in 1956, and Cameroon's Francoise Mbango, in 2008).

Prior to her stellar display in Japan, she had set a world-leading time of 3:51.07 - the fourth-fastest time in history - in Monaco in July at the Diamond League, an event in which she was crowned the year's champion in September.

After her Olympic record, she is now targeting the world record.

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge (white jersey) celebrates after busting the mythical two-hour barrier for the marathon on October 12 2019 in Vienna AFP

Eliud Kipchoge

Arguably the best marathon runner of all time and this year, Eliud Kipchoge cemented his status over 26.2 miles after winning his second successive Olympic gold in the event.

Just the third person to successfully defend an Olympic marathon title, the Kenyan was later named the International Olympic Committee's best male athlete of the Games.

Chelsea's Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy during the UEFA Champions League football match between Krasnodar and Chelsea at the Krasnodar stadium in Krasnodar on October 28, 2020. (AFP)

Triumph in Tokyo means he has won 13 of the 15 major marathons he has run since stepping up to the distance in 2013, with Kipchoge adding to a resume which includes the official world record of 2:01:39 he set in Berlin in 2018.

At 36, he was the oldest man to win the Olympic marathon since Portugal's Carlos Lopes (then 37) in 1984 and recorded the greatest winning margin since 1972.


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