LONDON, England, February 7 – Kenya’s 5,000- and 10,000-meter double gold medalist Vivian Cheruiyot, added another trophy in her cabinet after she was named the sports woman of the year Monday at the 2012 Laureus Sports Awards held in London.
She becomes the first Kenya woman and only the second ever Kenyan after Kipchoge Keino to win an individual award at the premier awards.
In 2001 Kipchoge received the Laureus sport for Good Award then three years later Mathare Youth Sports Association, MYSA won the similar award.
Cheruiyot, who scooped the women’s title in a closely contested race against fellow track stars, world half marathon record holder Mary Keitany and 2010 New York champion Edna Kiplagat.
She collected the first of three world gold medals at the World Cross Country Championships in Spain in March, set a Commonwealth 5,000m record in July, before completing a 5,000m and 10,000m double at the World Championships in Daegu and then claiming victory in the Diamond Race in Zurich.
She never looked like losing any of those races, showing greater strength and the ability to out-sprint her opponents and with that, earned her a 2012 London Olympic slot.
The diminutive runner was also unbeaten in the Diamond League meetings and also ran the world leading times over 3,000m and 5,000m with the 14:20:89 time in the 12-lap race set in DN Galan meeting this year.
The dominant forces in tennis and football were honored with Novak Djokovic winning the top individual prize and Barcelona capturing the team trophy at the Awards.
The top-ranked Djokovic won sportsman of the year at the ceremony in London, one week after the Serbian triumphed at the Australian Open to become the fifth man in the Open Era to win three Grand Slam titles in a row.
Barcelona was recognized as the best team after a stellar 2011 in which Pep Guardiola’s players won the Spanish league and Champions League.
The Laureus World Sports Awards is recognized as the premier honours event in the international sporting calendar and the Awards Ceremony provided a high profile focus as stars of the sporting world came together to salute the finest sportsmen and sportswomen of the year.
The winners of the seven categories:
Sportsman of the Year: Novak Djokovic
Sportswoman of the Year: Vivian Cheruiyot
Team of the Year: FC Barcelona
Breakthrough of the Year: Rory McIlroy
Comeback of the Year: Darren Clarke
Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Oscar Pistorius
Action Sportsperson of the Year: Kelly Slater
Lifetime Achievement Award: Bobby Charlton
Sport for Good Award: Raaací Souza Vieira de Oliveira