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WINNER’S WORD: Cheruiyot's message to upcoming athlete as she bags her second SOYA overall title

Last updated 3 years ago | By ERICK OCHIENG'

Vivian Cheruiyot after being named athlete of the year during the 2016 Athletics Kenya award gala in Nairobi on Dec 7, 2016.[PHOTO:DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD]

Women’s 5000m Olympic champion Vivian Cheruiyot is the 2016 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Award (SOYA) overall winner.

Cheruiyot beat Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, men’s Paralympics champion Samuel Muchai (T11,5000m and 5000m) and women’s Paralympics silver medalist Nancy Koech Chelagat (T11,1500m) to be declared the overall winner of the 13th edition that was held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on Thursday night.

In her acceptance speech, Cheruiyot attributed the Soya win as well as her amazing performance on track last season to her husband Moses Kirui Kiplagat.

“I am privileged to be the best sports personality in Kenya tonight and this win I dedicate to my husband because he has been the fuel behind my success,” said Cheruiyot who has been in the game for the last 17 years.

Clockwise:

Malkia Strikers' Janet Wanja receive a Sports team of the year trophy from KQ Marketing Director Chris Diaz during the Sports Personality of the Year Award 2015 at KICC on friday, Jan 15, 2016. PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD Hockey Federation officials at the annual Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2016 at KICC on Sunday night, Jan 20, 2017. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD] The Sportswoman living with disability Nancy Chelagat with guide Geoffrey Rotich with her trophy at the annual Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2016 at KICC on Sunday night, Jan 20, 2017. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD] General Manager SuperSport East Africa Auka Gacheo (centre) present a trophy to winners of School team of the year Kayatiwi Girls, Basketball at the annual Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2016 at KICC on Sunday night, Jan 20, 2017. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Cheruiyot said she is finally at rest after bagging an Olympic gold last year which was missing in her cabinet.

She challenged young and upcoming athletes to rise to the occasion and take over the long distance races especially 5000m and 10000m now that she is switching to marathon.

“I have graduated to marathon and my debut will be this year at the London Marathon. I can assure you that I will stage a great performance the same way I did with 5000m and 10,000m races,” Cheruiyot said.

Cheruiyot, 33, advised young upcoming athletes to be disciplined and put on extra work as they seek glory in their athletics career.

“This is my 17th year in athletics and I am still winning. Where are the young athletes? I can only advise you that discipline and hard work is what will propel you to greater heights,” she commented.

Apart from bagging the overall title that had a Sh1million prize tag, Cheruiyot also beat Olympic champions Jemimah Sumgong (marathon) and Faith Chepng’etich (1500m) to win the Sportswoman of the Year Award at the event.

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