Kiptum, Kipyegon feted at SOYA awards

Marathon world record holder, the late Kevin Kiptum, was posthumously declared the 2023 Sportsman of the Year on Friday at the Kenya International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi.

At the same time, multi-world champion and record holder, Faith Chepng’etich, was for the third consecutive time crowned the Sportswoman of the Year.

The duo won the accolades during the 2023 Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) that were marked with emotions as former marathon world record holder, Patrick Makau, who almost broke down, went on stage to receive the award on behalf of Kiptum’s family.

Kiptum’s family

At the same time, multi-world champion and record holder, Faith Chepng’etich, was for the third consecutive time crowned the Sportswoman of the Year. as former marathon world record holder, Patrick Makau, who almost broke down, went on stage to receive the award on behalf of Kiptum’s family.

Moreso, World 5km champion, Beatrice Chebet and World 800m champion, Mary Moraa,  went back on the stage to receive the award on behalf of Kipyegon, who wasn’t able to attend.

Chebet and Moraa had finished in that order behind Kipyegon.

At hand to reward the top performers were Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba and SOYA founder Paul Tergat, a retired famous athlete, among other dignitaries.

Posthumous honour

Kiptum, who tragically lost his life in a road accident on February 11 alongside his Rwandese coach Gervais Hakizimana in Uasin Gishu, becomes the first athlete to receive this honor posthumously in the history of these awards.

Coincidentally, SOYA was marking 20 years since inception.

Legendary Henry Rono, who passed away on February 15, this year, four days after celebrating his 72nd birthday, was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Coveted award

The 24-year-old Kiptum edged out world 10,000m and world half marathon silver medallist, Daniel Simuyu, and world 800m silver medallist, Emmanuel Wanyonyi, to the coveted award.

Simiyu and Wanyonyi finished second and third respectively.

Kiptum rewrote marathons history books as the first man to run a marathon under two hours and one minute, when he won in Chicago two hours and 35 seconds on October 8, breaking Eliud Kipchoge’s world record by 34 seconds.

Kipchoge held the world record of 2:01:09 set at the Berlin Marathon on September 25, 2022.

Blown away

Kiptum had on April 23 last year blown away the field to win the London Marathon capital in a course record time of 2:01: 25 seconds, beating the previous course record of 2:02:37 held by Kipchoge from 2019.

His achievement was enough to have Kiptum win the 2023 World Athletics Athlete of the Year out of Stadia Award- Male.

Simiu settled for silver in the 10,000m at the World Athletics Championships, Budapest, Hungary on August 20 and the World Half Marathon in Latvia on October 1.

Wanyonyi, 19, transitioned to the seniors with a solid showing in 2023, helping Kenya to the mixed relay gold medal at the World Cross Country Championships.

Kipyegon, the winner in 2021 and 2022, beat world 5km champion Beatrice Chebet and world 800m champion Mary Moraa to second and third places respectively.


“I regret not being able to attend the awards ceremony, but I am deeply honoured. I extend my gratitude to the organisers for this noble event. “Congratulations to all the athletes, and I wish them a successful 2024,” said Kipyegon through a video telecast the the cheering audience.

Kipyegon, the 2021 and 2022 SOYAwinner, made history as the first woman to win both the 1,500m and 5,000m titles at a world championship during the global event staged in Budapest, Hungary. Before heading to Budapest, Kipyegon, 29, shattered three world records in less than two months in 1,500m (3:49.11) and 5,000m (14:05.20).

Chebet claimed a stunning victory in women’s 10km at the 44th World Athletics Cross Country Championships, Bathurst, Australia in February.

Chebet then settled for bronze in 5,000m behind Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August. Chebet would seal her third world gold medal this year with the inaugural  m5km Road Race victory at the World Road Running Championships in Riga in October.

“ I am really hambled for this award. It gives me strength to go defend my world cross country title in Serbian and seek the the Olympic 5,000m title,” said Chebet.

Moraa was the only other Kenyan to win gold at the world championships in Budapest apart from Kipyegon when she claimed victory in 800m, becoming the only other Kenyan to hold the 800m title after Janeth Jepkosgei (2007) and Eunice Sum (2013).

Moraa broke her own 400m national record twice at Botswana Golden Grand Prix in April in 50.43 and during the trials for the Budapest World Championships in 50.38 in July at Nyayo National Stadium

Something better

“I am humbled with this award as it inspires me to go for something better at the Paris Olympics,” said Moraa, who told Kenyans to expect something good at Paris Olympics starting July 26 to August 11 in the French capital.

World Cross Country under 20 champion Ishmael Kipkurui was declared the most promising boy while footballer Valarie Nesesa claimed girls’ top honours.

History-making para rower was declared the Sportswoman with Disability winner with multi-talented Special Olympian David Ng’ang’a winning men’s disability award.

Kenya Cup and Enterprise Cup champions Kabras Sugar were for the second consecutive year crowned men’s Team of the Year while the national 3×3 basketball team won women’s accolades.

Coach of the year

The national 3×3 basketball team’s coach Evelyne Kedogo was declared Coach of the Year.

Kwanzathe Secondary School volleyball team won Girls’  Schools Team of the Year beating Butere Girls football team and  Nyamira Girls hockey team to second and third places respectively.

Koyonzo High School rugby team was declared the best boys’ school.

The Schools Coach of the Year award went to  Isaac Muresia of Namwela, who is gearing up to lead Namwela at the World School games later this year.

Sportsman of the Year
1. The late Kevin Kiptum (Athletics)
2. Daniel Simiu (Athletics)
3 Emmanuel Wanyonyi (Athletics)

Sportswoman of the Year
1. Faith Kipyegon
2. Beatrice Chebet
3. Mary Moraa- Athletics

Sportsman with Disability
1. David Nganga Ngugi
2. Kelvin Kipkogei
3. Titus Maundu

Sportswoman with Disability
1. Asiya Sururu- rowing
2. Purity Kandie- Athletics
3. Nancy Chelangat- Athletics

Special Category
Special Olympics Team women
Special Olympics Men handball team

Sports Team of the Year- men
1. Kabras Sugar Rugby
2. Rollball
3. Raising Stars Football Team

Sports Team of the Year- women
1. 3×3 basketball
2. Malkia Strikers – volleyball
3. Rollball

Coach of the Year
1. Everline Kedogo- basketball

Most Promising- Boy
1. Ishmael Kipkurui- Athletics
2. Adrin Kibet- Football
3. Nathaniel Munyeki

Most Promising-Girl
1. Valarie Nekesa- Football
2. Bianca Gechu- golf
3. Nancy Cherop- Athletics

Schools Coach of the Year
1. Isaac Mweresia

School of the Year-Boys
1. Koyonzo Boys High School  -rugby
2. Namwela Boys High School-Volleyball
3. St Anthony Boys High School, Kitale-football

School of the Year- Girls
1. Kwanthanze Secondary Schools- volleyball
2. Nyamira Girls High School- hockey
3. Butere Girls High School…football

Hall of Fame
Henry Rono

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