The Safaricom SOYA Awards growth journey
The Safaricom SOYA Awards growth journey
For twelve years on, Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) has continued recognizing outstanding talents of Kenya’s sports personalities.
This year's event which enters its thirteenth edition on Thursday (19) in Nairobi will be graced by Ethiopia’s Athletic Federation boss Haile Gebrselassie who is also a retired athlete.
The country’s successful sports awards was first initiated by former world marathon record holder Paul Tergat in the year 2004.However the intervention of the title sponsors Safaricom has seen the event’s status and sponsorship bulge in every edition.
Safaricom officially launched the SOYA in the year 2005 and through its support, several stars in different sporting disciplines have been bred through the urge to post exemplary results over the season with eyes fixed on an award.
The journey began with the Kenya’s paralympian Henry Wanyoike and two-time world marathon champion Catherine Ndereba being crowned as the overall man and woman sports persons of the year in the year 2004.Kenyan National Rugby sevens team and National Volleyball team won the men and women’s sports team of the years respectively.
Former Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Brimin Kipruto took the Most promising sportsman award while legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino was inducted to the Hall of Fame.
The following year Benjamin Limo who was the only gold medallist in the Kenya’s contingent to the 2005 world championships in Helsinki won the sportsman of the year award while Ndreba bagged it for the second year running.
Kenya’s team to Chiba Ekiden Relays was crowned the men’s Sports team of the year and the National volleyball team took the women’s category while legendary footballer Joe Kadenge was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
As the year progress, it saw the introduction of different additional categories with the improvement of Kenya’s sportspersons in various sporting disciplines.
The year 2009 saw the dominance of men athletes in the overall award as rugby player Collins Injera was crowned the Sports Person of the Year for the men’s category and athlete Linet Masai won the women’s title.
From then athletics has continued dominating the overall category while other sporting disciplines share the spoils in the various categories.
World 800m record holder David Rudisha who successfully defended his Olympic title in Rio last year took the 2010 award together with Nancy Lagat in the women’s category.
Former world marathon record holder Patrick Makau and Oluympic 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot scooped the 2011 Sports Persons of the Year Awards while Rudisha recaptured it in the year 2012 with three time Newy York City marathon winner Mary Keitany taking the women’s crown.
Successful track athlete Ezekiel Kemboi and road queen Edna Kiplagat became the new winners in the year 2013 but Caleb Ndiku and Eunice Sum settled for the men and women overall awards in the year 2014.
Julius Yego better known as ‘Youtube Athlete’ through his Javelin prowess became the men’s sports person of the year in 2015 and Olympic steeplechase silver medalist Hyvin Kiyeng took the women’s title.
The nominees for the 2016 Sports man and woman of the year awards includes David Rudisha, Conseslus Kipruto, Eliud Kipchoge, Collins Injera among others while women’s lists will see Vivian Cheruiyot and Jemimah Sumgong going for the top honor.
This year, the overall winner will receive sh1million up from the Sh150,000.
· Sportsman of the year: Ales Kipchirchir
· Sportswoman of the year: Janeth Jepkosgei
· Sports team of the year (men): Junior World Cross Country team (athletics)
· Sports team of the year (women): Kenya Commercila Bank
· Most Promising sportsman: David Dunford (Swimming)
· Most Promising sportswoman: Pauline Korkwong (athletics)
· Hall of Fame inductee: Hardial Singh ( hockey)
· Sports Federation: Athletics Kenya
· Special Category: Francis Thuo (Paralymoian)
· Sportsman of the year: Jason Dunford (swimming)
· Sportswoman of the year: Janeth Jepkosgei (athletics)
· Sports team of the year (men):Kenya National Rugby Sevens
· Sports team of the year (women): Junior World Cross Country team (athletics)
· Most Promising sportsman: Asbel Kiprop (athletics)
· Most Promising sportswoman: Ruth Bosibori (athletics)
· Hall of Fame inductee:Paul Wekesa (tennis)
· Sports Federation:Kenya Motorsports Foundation
· Special Category (men): Abraham Tarbei (paralympic)
· Special Category (women): Betty Cheruiyot ( paralympic)
· Community Hero: Tegla Loroupe ( paralympic)
· Sportsman of the year: Samuel Wanjiru (athletics)
· Sportswoman of the year:Pamela Jelimo (athletics)
· Sports team of the year (men): Kenya Rugby Sevens
· Sports team of the year (women): Kenya Prisons (volleyball)
· Most Promising sportsman: Josphat Bett (athletics)
· Most Promising sportswoman: Achieng Ajulu-Bushell (swimming)
· Hall of Fame inductee: Jonathan Niva (football)
· Sports Federation:Kenya Rugby Football Union
· Special Category (men):Henry Kirwa (paralympic)
· Special Category (women): Mary Nakhumicha Zakayo (paralympic)
· Community Hero: Juma Abdalla Kent (basketball)
· Coach of the Year: Julius Kirwa (athletics)