NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 30 – Africa Youth double gold medallist, swimmer, Maria Brunhelner was on Tuesday belatedly feted as the StarTimes Sports Personality for the month of July in Mombasa.
The German-based swimmer was in superb form at the Africa Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria, winning three medals; 2 gold in the 50 metres and 100 metres freestyle events as well as a silver medal in the 50 metres breaststroke.
She set a championship record of 26.14 seconds in the 50 metres freestyle and repeated her feat in the 100 metres, where she posted 58.87 seconds. In the 50 metres breaststroke event, she clocked 34.04 seconds, losing out narrowly to Morocco’s Imane Houda El Barodi, who tapped the wall in 33.03
Brunhelner exploits saw her get called up to the Kenya Olympic Youth Games team in Buenos Aires Argentina and she also earned selection to the CANA Zone Three Championships slated for Khartoum Sudan in November.
Brunlehner was awarded with a 43-inch StarTimes digital TV Set, Sh100,000 in prize money, and a customized trophy. Her award was collected by her mother since she is based in Germany.
Speaking through Skype, Brunlehner, 18, whose awards were collected by her mother at the Mombasa Academy, was humbled with the award adding that it will motivate her to continue winning.
“I did not see this coming, I am excited because you guys have made my day. I am hoping to come to Kenya next year for the nationals and I have my eyes set on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo,” Maria said through a Skype interview from her base in Germany.
“Swimming is fun, but it requires a lot of dedication, but I thank my sister for always inspiring me,” she added.
In a vote conducted by the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) Sports Personality of the Month Commission, Brunhelner edged out World U20 champions Rhonex Kipruto and Celliphine Chespol in the vote for the coveted award.
Kipruto bagged gold in the 10,000 meters while Chespol took gold in the 3000 metres steeplechase at the World Under 20 Championship in Finland. Another nominee in July was Emmanuel Korir who clocked the fastest time in the two lap race this year when he registered 1:42.05 at the London Diamond League meeting.
StarTimes Director of Marketing and PR Japhet Akhukia said;
“In the 15th StarTimes Sports Personality awards that we have handed over since we established this initiative with SJAK, it is the very first time that we are awarding a swimmer which is testament to our diversity in appreciating our sports men and women as we seek reward excellence across the diverse sports disciplines,” Akhulia stated.
The sports personality of the month award is a partnership between pay television Company StarTimes and SJAK to reward all deserving sports personalities on a monthly basis in a bid to bolster the general performance of sport in the country as well as whipping up the enthusiasm of Kenya’s sports men and women in the country.
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