NAIROBI, Kenya, January 16 – Commonwealth and African 5000m champion Caleb Ndiku Mwangangi was crowned the overall 2014 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year (SOYA) at a colorful annual black tie gala night at Nairobi’s KICC on Friday.
Mwangangi who is the reigning 3000m Continental Cup champion was also named the Sportsman of the year while World 800m champion Eunice Sum bagged the corresponding women’s award.
Mwangangi was picked ahead of steeplechaser Jairus Birech who had a stellar season winning silver at the Club games as well as the the African title and Boxer Rayton Okwiri.
The event which was graced by Olympic and World marathon champion Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich, saw the track and field athletes dominate with world marathon record holder, Dennis Kimetto and Javelin Star Julius Yego scooping the most outstanding athlete of the year.
Delighted Mwangangi, the IAAF Diamond League winner said he has achieved his dreams after being voted the most promising young athlete in 2010.
“This award is a motivation to the upcoming athletes for they can see there is future ahead in sports. This is the beginning and more are coming because the ‘foot print’ is still wet.
“If feel honoured for winning this award, you have awarded the real buffalo and I will prove that this year. This is the beginning and there is more a head of me because I believe in myself,” the 3000m world indoor champion underscored.
Sum who had a sterling performance last year in winning both the Commonwealth Games and African titles as well as the IAAF Diamond League is hoping to defend her world title in Beijing August.
“I’m much honoured and feel happy because it’s one of my biggest awards that I have ever won. I thank my coach and my mentor Janeth Jepkosgei, for pushing me to this level.
“2014 was the best year for me since I won the major title. My target now is to defend my title and compete in Bahamas for the world relay with my team-mate where we hope to win Gold,” Sum stated.
Sum emerged the winner from a strong competition that consisted of 5000m Commonwealth champion Mercy Cherono who was runner-ups as 1500m gold medallist in the same event Faith Chepng’etich was third.
It was a wonderful night for African champions Telkom Orange women’s hockey club who bagged the Sports team of the Year Award, beating Kenya Lioness and USIU basketball team, while their coach Jos Openda was voted the Coach of the Year.
National 7s circuit winners KCB RFC edged out Kenyan Premier League Champions Gor Mahia who finished second for a second successive season as GOtv Shield champions Sofapaka were third.
The power lifter bronze medalist Joyce Wambui was the named the sportswoman with a disability while Nikhil Sachania a rally driver who competed in the Safari Rally taking the men’s award.
As expected World junior 1500m record holder Ronald Kwemoi topped the men’s Most Promising Award with budding golfer, Eight-year old Channelle Wangari named the Most Promising Girl.
Returning Impala and former Kenyan International Innocent Simiyu won the Comeback award.
Friends School Kamusinga Boys, the regional hockey champions and Shimba Hills Girls, the basketball regional champions were the school winners.
The winners were selected by a panellist made up of sports journalists with the public voting through an SMS platform for the sportsman, sportswoman and the teams.
Overall sportsman: Caleb Ndiku Mwangangi
Sportsman of the Year: Caleb Ndiku Mwangangi
Sportswoman of the Year: Eunice Sum (Athletics)
Outstanding performers: Dennis Kimetto & Julius Yego
Sports team of the year men: KCB RFC
Sports team of the year women: Telkom Hockey Orange Club
Sportswoman with a disability: Jane Wambui
Sportsman with a disability: Nikhil Sachania
Schools team boys: Friends School Kamusinga
Schools team Girls: Shimba Girls
Coach of the year: Jos Openda (Telkom Orange Hockey team).
Community Hero: DC Samuel Kimwiti
Comeback Award: Innocent Simiyu (Rugby)
Most Promising boys: Ronald Kwemoi (Athletics)
Most Promising girls: Chanelle Wangari
Sports Federation of the Year: Kenya Volleyball Federation.