Erickson Kiprono @PeopleSports11
World Under-20 champion Edward Zakayo and Harambee Starlets forward Teresa Engesha headline a huge field of boys and girls nominated for the Most Promising 2018 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year (SOYA) Awards to be hosted in Mombasa on January 11.
The awards, co-sponsored by Mombasa County Government, National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Communications Authority (CA), Kenya Pipeline, GOtv, LapFund, New KCC, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Kenya Power, Sports Station and Protel Studios, will be held at Fort Jesus.
In the boys’ category, Zakayo will battle it out with judoka Carlos Ochieng, world Under-20 champion in 10,000m Rhonex Kipruto, Sofapaka and Harambee Stars forward Piston Mutamba as well as athlete Jackson Kavesa.
Zakayo had a sparkling year that also saw the 17-year-old win the Kenya 5,000m Under-20 trials before going on to claim bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia losing the battle to defending champion Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei.
After winning the Kenyan trials, the World Under-18, World 3,000m silver medallist would go on to claim sweet revenge against Ethiopian Selemon Barega, snatching the World Under-20 title in 5,000m from the Ethiopian in Tampere, Finland.
The Form Two student at Kapsait High School would then go on to win the Africa 5,000m title in Asaba, Nigeria, beating experienced Getaneh Molla from Ethiopia and Eritrean Yemane Haileselassie.
That saw him qualify for the World Cup also known as IAAF Continental Cup where he finished fifth. Ochieng, on the other hand, is the Kenyan champion in junior and senior under 60kgs in judo.
Due to his prowess and discipline, he was given scholarship by Japan and benefitted from an International training in the Kodokan University of Judo in Tokyo.