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Zakayo makes list: Judoka Ochieng, Rhonex and Mutamba also make cut for Soya Awards



World Under-20 champion Edward Zakayo and Harambee Starlets forward Teresa Engesha headline a deep field of boys and girls nominated for the most promising category ahead of 2018 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year (SOYA) Awards set for Mombasa on January 11

In the boys’ category, Zakayo will be up against judoka Carlos Ochieng, world’s 10 000m U-20 champion Rhonex Kipruto, Sofapaka and Harambee Stars forward Piston Mutamba as well as athlete Jackson Kavesa.

Zakayo, 17, had a sparkling year that also saw him win the 5,000m during the Kenya U-20 trials before going on to claim bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, where he settled for silver behind Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei. After winning the Kenyan trials, the World Under-18 3,000m silver medallist snatched the World Under-20 title in 5000m in Tampere, Finland.

He also win the 5,000m at the Africa Championships 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 in Judo sport he was given scholarship by Japan and benefited from an International training in Kodokan university of Judo in Tokyo.

He represented Kenya in World judo Championship in Budapest, Hungary and finished 7th. For Rhonex Kipruto, the 19-year-old won the Africa Cross Country U-20 men’s title in Chlef, Algeria in March.

Kipruto also won the 10,000m race during the Kenyan trials on his way to winning the World U-20 10,000m title in a championship record time of 27:21.08 in Tampere, Finland.

Kipruto affirmed his status as one of world’s most promising distance runners when he won the Prague Grand Prix 10km race in a course record time of 26:46, nearly breaking his compatriot Leonard Patrick Komon’s world record time of 26:44. The time is still the fastest this year. Mutamba on the other hand, scored eight goals for Kenyan Premier League side Sofapaka, after joining the club mid-season from Wazito FC.

He also aided the club reach final of SportPesa Shield Cup where they lost to Kariobangi Sharks. He was part of the Harambee Stars U-23 team that played in Uzbekistan in May in a friendly match where he scored one goal and provided an assist as Kenya won 2-1.

Due to his impressing performance, he earned a call to the Senior Harambee Stars squad under head coach Sebastian Migne, playing in seven matches while scoring one goal in the 1-0 win against Equatorial Guinea in a friendly match.

For Kavesa, he claimed bronze in 3,000m at the Africa Youth Championships losing the battle to Berihu Aregawi of Ethiopia who won in a time of 7:50.98 and Ugandan Oscar Chelimo who came second in 8:00.72. However, he claimed sweet revenge at the Youth Olympics.

Despite finishing third in boys’ 3,000m final, Kavesa went on to win boys cross country 4km race that gave him the gold medal with 11.12 points, beating Aregawi ( 11.13 ) and Chelimo ( 11.28 ).

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