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Wide berth for sports in Presidential Awards

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Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge reacts after winning the Berlin Marathon setting a new world record on September 16, 2018 in Berlin.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 12 – In a year where Kenyan sportsmen achieved, others over-achieved in their various sports disciplines, only two of them made it to the list of 402 set to be handed Presidential awards and honors on Jamhuri Day.

The two were awarded after their names were fronted by their employer, the Kenya Defense Forces.

Joyciline Jepkosgei, a Corporal in the Forces has been handed the Head of State Commendation under the military division as well as Sergeant Blackmoses Mathenge, a boxer with the Kenya Defense Forces team.

While Mathenge led Kenya’s success in the African Military Boxing Championship in Algeria, Jepkosgei broke four world records last year, a historic feat that is yet to be achieved by anyone in the world of athletics.

She broke the 10km, 15km, 20km and Half Marathon World Records to finish off a superb year.

Joyciline Jepkosgei breaks the world 10km record in Prague (Organisers) © Copyright

But many would question why no other sportsmen, Kenya’s biggest ambassadors to the outside world has found his/her name in the list of 402 that is dominated by politicians.

Harambee Stars qualified for the African Cup of Nations for the first time in 15 years after victories over Ethiopia and Ghana and yet none of the players or members of the technical bench have been named in the list.

Eliud Kipchoge, named IAAF Male Athlete of the Year just last week after breaking the Marathon World Record by the biggest margin in close to 50 years was also not visible in the list as was 3,000m women’s steeplechase World Record Holder Beatrice Chepkoech.

Kenya’s athletes also topped the continent during the African Senior Athletics Championship in Asaba Nigeria and none of the 11 gold medalists from the games were listed for any award by the Head of State.

Stacy Ndiwa taking the African 10,000m title in Asaba (Bob Ramsak) © Copyright

Kenya also performed well at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia finishing with four gold medals, seven silver and six bronze medals.

In January this year, Sabrina Wanjiku Simader became only the second Kenyan to represent the country at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Although she did not win anything, the 18-year old Alpine Skier put Kenya on the world map with her story highlighted all over by international media.

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