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Chepng’etich, Okutoyi, Moraa among SOYA award nominees

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World 1,500metre champion Faith Chepng’etich and fast-rising tennis prodigy Angela Okutoyi are among nominees for the 2022 Sportswoman of the Year Award.

The winner will be declared during the 19th edition Sports Personality of the Year (SOYA) Gala on January 20 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).

The gala returns to Nairobi for the first since 2018 with the event having traversed Mombasa twice, Naivasha and Kakamega.

According to a statement released by the organisers, the 2022 SOYA will have 11 categories. It marks the return of the Schools’ Categories, which missed during last gala as there were no school events owing to Covid-19.

Chepng’etich will be eying to defend the award she won when the event was held last in Kakamega against Okutoyi in the category that is dominated by athletics.

Others from athletics are Commonwealth Games champions Beatrice Chebet (5,000m) and Mary Moraa (800m), Boston Marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir and Chicago Marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich.

Also in contention are national volleyball team, Malkia Strikers player, Sharon Chepchumba, golfer Naomi Wafula, and Kenya Lionesses rugby player Janet Okello.

The SOYA panel of judges will whittle down the list of 17 nominees to the final five nominees in the first week of January in the event sponsored by Communications Authority, NSSF, Safaricom, Lotto Foundation and Kenya Pipeline.

Faith recaptured the world 1,500m title clocking three minutes and 52.96 seconds on July 18 before going on to win the Monaco leg of the Diamond League in a national record time of 3: 3:50.37, missing the world record by just three tenths of a second.

It was the second fastest time in history of the women’s 1,500m race where Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba holds the world record of 3:50.07 set in Monaco in 2015.

Faith would retain her Diamonds League Trophy, winning in Zurich in 4:00.44 on September 8.

Faith was once again nominated for the 2022 Women’s World Athlete of the Year Award.

The 2022 SOYA awards are sponsored by Communications Authority, NSSF, Safaricom, Lotto Foundation and Kenya Pipeline.

Okutoyi made history as the first Kenyan to win a tennis Grand Slam following her girls’ double victory at Wimbledon tournament alongside Dutch partner Rose Marie Nijkamp in July.

She also won the doubles in the J1 Repenting competition alongside Polish partner Malwina Rowinska in Canada and also reached the second round at US Open singles.

Moraa claimed bronze in 800m at the World Championships in Oregon before going for gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in August. She also went ahead to bag her maiden 800m Diamond League trophy after winning at the finals in Zurich.

Moraa broke the national 400m record twice this year; during the national trials for the World Athletics Championships in   50.84 in June and at Brussels Diamond League in 50.67 in September.

Chebet snatched silver in the 5,000m race at the World Championships in Oregon before crowning it with gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and a Diamond League trophy.

Chepchumba led KCB to the Africa Clubs Championships title in Tunisia after beating pre-tournament favourites Al Ahly of Egypt and played a pivotal role in Malkia Strikers’ only victory at the World Championships.

Wafula won five key events in the last one year, namely the Kenya Ladies Golf Union (KLGU) Open Meeting, Karen Ladies Open, Limuru Ladies Open, Eldoret Ladies Open and Vipingo Ladies Open.

Nominees

Felmas Koranga, Natalie Akinyi, Melissa Akinyi (Basketball); Faith Chepngétich, Beatrice Chebet, Ruth Chepngetich, Mary Moraa, Peres Jepchirchir (Athletics), Angela Okutoyi (Tennis), Janet ‘Shebesh’ Okello (Rugby), Maxine Wahome (Motorsport) Sharon Chepchumba( Volleyball), Gladys Chilo (Handball), Naomi Wafula (Golf) Corazon Aquino (Football), Christine Ongare (Boxing)



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