World marathon record holder and Olympics champion Eliud Kipchoge is 2018 Sports Personality of the Year. An elated Kipchoge was awarded at an African themed Sports Personality Of The Year (SOYA) gala at Mombasa’s Fort Jesus Friday as the annual event celebrated its 15th anniversary.
The Olympic Marathon champion started 2018 strongly with victory at London Marathon in 2:04:17 on April 22, which was the 15th fastest time over the distance, having won at the same course in 2015 in 2:04:42 and 2016 in 2:03:05, missing the world record by eight seconds.
However, the moment Kipchoge had patiently and persistently been thirsting for came at the Berlin Marathon when he broke the World Record by one minute and 18 seconds, setting a new time of 2:01:39 on September 16 in the German capital.
On his way to the World Recoed and his third Berlin Marathon title, Kipchoge also broke the 30km mark, setting a new time of 1:26:45.
His exploits saw him awarded the IAAF Male Athlete Of the Year, becoming the second Kenyan to win the award after David Rudisha in 2010.
In the women’s category, Beatrice Chepkoech beat stiff competition from her fellow athletics nominees Hellen Obiri and Cellphine Chespol as well as from WBC World boxing champion Fatuma Zarika and rugby sensation Janet Okello to be named the Sportswoman of The Year.
Chepkoech had a phenomenal season which started with her winning the 1,500m race at the National trials before settling for silver at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in a personal best time of 4:03.09.
She then went back to her specialty, the 3,000m steeplechase, where, determined to put behind the disappointment from 2017 World Championships in London, where she missed the water barrier, she won the National Championships in 9:23.73 before going for the Africa title in a Championship Record time of 8:59.88 in August.
She won four of her five Diamond League races last season with her victory in Monaco on July 20, producing a World Record time of 8:44.32, making her the first woman to run under 8:50. She shattered Ruth Jebet’s previous record of 8:52.78 by nine seconds.
Hall of Fame inductees
She also won Shanghai in 9:07.27, Paris in 8:59.36 and Brussels in 8:55.10 where she claimed her first Diamond League Trophy setting the stage for her World Cup victory in 9:07.92 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Meanwhile, former Harambee Stars coach Mohammed Kheri and former sprints sensation Rosa Tata Muya were the Hall of Fame Inductees.
Kheri coached Stars between 1988 and 1990 and again between 1995 and 2005. He served as Marshal Mulwa’s assistant in the 1980s. He is the only coach so far who has come closest to leading Stars to World Cup qualification.
Muya meanwhile, made history as the youngest athlete to compete at the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games aged 14 in 800m. She was also the first Kenyan to compete at the IAAF World Championships during the 1983 Helsinki inaugural event but failed to go past the heats. Her last appearance at the Commonwealth Games was during the 1990 Auckland Games where she was the oldest in the event.