Kipyegon, Omanyala shine at SOYA Awards
ATHLETICS By Washington Onyango | January 27th 2022 | 2 min read
Olympians Faith Kipyegon and Ferdinand Omanyala on Tuesday night put on a show to remember.
The night was quiet because it was meant to be; but the looks inside Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega were meant to last.
Dressed in a fancy glittering blue evening gown, two-time Olympic 1,500m gold medalist Kipyegon left everyone in awe as she walked onto the podium to collect the Sportswoman of the Year Award wearing her famous smile.
Kipyegon weathered a tough challenge from Peres Jepchirchir and Brigid Kosgei to clinch the women’s title, her second SOYA award after winning the Most Promising Girl Athlete award some years back.
The World 1,500m champion broke her 1,500m national record twice last year.
Despite finishing second at the Diamond League in Florence, Italy, behind Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan on June 10, her time of 3:53.9 erased her previous record of 3:54.22 set when winning the world title in Doha in 2019.
A month later, she improved the record by two seconds when she won in Monaco in 3:51.07, beating Hassan to second place on July 9.
Kipyegon, 27, would stage a successful 1,500m title defence at the Tokyo Summer Games on August 6, winning in an Olympic Record of 3:53.11 to beat Britain’s Laura Muir and Hassan, who settled for silver and bronze respectively.
Kipyegon then claimed her second 1,500m Diamond League Trophy clocking 3:58.33 to win in Zurich on September 9, before ending the season with victory in 1,500m at the Kip Keino Classic, the World Athletics Continental Tour.
At the same time, Africa’s fastest man Omanyala impressed with his green suit, warm big hugs and broad smile after winning the 2021 Sportsman of the Year gong.
The sprint sensation stole the limelight from world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Olympic 800m champion Emmanuel Korir.
Omanyala shot to fame last year after an impressive 2021 season where he broke the African 100m record and reached the Olympics semi finals.
The Most Promising Boy award went to Heristone Wanyonyi, who wrote history as the first Kenyan to win the World Under 20 Walk race while the Most Promising Girl award was won by Teresia Muthoni, the World under 20 3,000m champion.
Immediate former Harambee Starlets head coach Charles Okere was feted as the Coach of the Year while his team Vihiga Queens toppled Kenya Rugby Lionesses and Beach Volleyball team to win the Sports Team of the Year.
Shujaa emerged Team of the Year beating FKF Premier League champions Tusker FC. Tokyo 2020 Paralympics bronze medallist Nancy Chelangat won the Sportswoman Living with a Disability gong as Deaflympian Simon Kibai took the men’s award.
World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge was honoured with the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) Award for his exemplery season as volleyball legend Esther Ouna received the Hall of Fame accolade.
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