NAIROBI, Kenya, December 6- It was a fitting early birthday present for World record holder and Olympics champion, David Rudisha, when he was coroneted the Overall Sports Personality of the Year as Kenya’s finest were paraded in a glittering black tie gala in Nairobi on Thursday night.
Despite stiff competition, Rudisha who bagged his first Olympics title in a staggering 1:40.91 all time best during the London 800m men’s final deservedly picked up the top award on offer during the ninth Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soyas).
London Olympics steeplechase crown holder, Ezekiel Kemboi was runner-up with Glasgow Celtic footballer, Victor Wanyama, who helped his side book a memorable last 16 berth in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night came third.
Rudisha also picked up his second Sportsman of the Year gong following his 2010 success as he left the colourful event as the headline act of the show and his latest success on the awards podium comes in the heels of his recognition as Athletics Kenya’s Overall Sportsperson of the Year as well as the IAAF Performance of the Year winner.
The 800m running phenomenon turns 24 on December 17 joked, “I need a separate house to keep all these trophies,” before adding, “This feels like winning a big race and it is humbling when one is recognised at home since we compete to make our country proud and give it a name.”
World Marathon Majors winner, Mary Keitany, was named the surprise Sportswoman of the Year beating double Olympics medallist, Vivian Cheruiyot and London marathon silver medallist, Priscah Jeptoo to second and third.
As expected, World Indoor and Samsung Diamond League winner in women 800m was recognised as the first recipient of the newly launched Comeback of the Year Award while Tecla Chemabwai, Kenya’s first female Olympian was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Caroline Kola, the former heptathlete, was declared the Coach of the Year for leading Kenya to success at the World Deaf Athletics Championships with domestic football champions, Tusker FC were declared the Men’s Team of the Year with the National Football Under 20 side becoming the first exponents of the sport to bag a top Soya Award when they were declared the winners of the women’s category.
Timothy Kitum, the Olympics bronze winner and Faith Chepng’etich, the World Juniors titleholder scooped the Most Promising men and women prizes whilst St Anthony High School hockey and Malava Girls volleyball squad received the Boys and Girls School of the Year recognition.
Former national volleyball coach, Paul Bitok was the Community Hero of the Year recipient as Paralympians Abraham Tarbei and Mary Nakumincha arose to receive the men and women Special Category Awards.