Kenyan stars honoured at SOYA Awards 2023


In a heartfelt and emotional ceremony held last night at the prestigious Sports Personality of the Year Awards, the late Kelvin Kiptum was posthumously awarded the Sportsman of the Year award for his outstanding performance in 2023.

The evening also saw the phenomenal Faith Kipyegon-world record holder of 1500m, 5000m, and 1 mile races- also crowned the Sportswoman of the Year.

The event, graced by the presence of Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba and SOYA founder Paul Tergat, paid homage to the remarkable achievements of these exceptional athletes.

Kelvin Kiptum, the world marathon record holder, was honored posthumously after tragically passing away in a road accident on February 11 in Uasin Gishu. Despite his untimely demise, Kiptum’s legacy continues to inspire as he was recognized for his extraordinary accomplishments throughout the year.

Notably, Kiptum broke the Chicago Marathon record with a staggering time of 2:00:35, solidifying his status as one of the greatest long-distance runners of his generation. Emmanuel Wanyonyi and Daniel Simiu were acknowledged as the second and first runners-up respectively in the men’s category, highlighting the immense talent within Kenya’s athletics scene.

Meanwhile, Faith Kipyegon, the 1500m world record holder, clinched the Sportswoman of the Year award for the third time, cementing her status as a dominant force in middle-distance running. Kipyegon’s remarkable achievements in 2023 included becoming the first woman ever to complete a 1,500-5,000 meters double at the World Championships.

Her stellar performances earned her two gold medals in Budapest and saw her break three world records in the 1,500m, mile, and 5,000m events. In a touching video message, the Olympic gold medalist expressed her gratitude for the prestigious accolade, extending her best wishes to fellow athletes and thanking the organizers for the honor.

The women’s category witnessed fierce competition, with 800m world champion Mary Moraa and Beatrice Chebet named as the second and first runners-up respectively. Their contributions to Kenyan athletics have been invaluable, demonstrating the depth of talent and determination present within the country’s sporting landscape.

In addition to honoring individual athletes, the ceremony recognized outstanding sports teams, coaches, and promising talents across various disciplines. Special categories highlighted the achievements of athletes living with disabilities, underscoring the importance of inclusivity and diversity in sports.

The National Special Olympics Handball Team and the National Special Olympics Beach Volleyball Team were celebrated for their remarkable achievements, emphasizing the power of teamwork and dedication.

Evelyn Kidogo was awarded Coach of the Year for her exceptional leadership in basketball, while promising talents such as Ismael Kipkurui and Valerie Nekesa were recognized as the most promising athletes in their respective categories.

Furthermore, school coaches and teams were acknowledged for their outstanding contributions to sports development at the grassroots level, with Isaac Muresia from Namwela School and the Koyonzo Rugby Team among the notable recipients.

Overall, the 2023 Sports Personality of the Year Awards showcased the best of Kenyan sportsmanship, honoring individuals and teams who have excelled on the international stage while inspiring the next generation of athletes. As the nation continues to celebrate their achievements, the legacy of athletes like Kelvin Kiptum and Faith Kipyegon will undoubtedly endure, leaving an indelible mark on the world of sports.

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