Olunga, Owala in race for top crown at SOYA gala

Olunga, Owala in race for top crown at SOYA gala

The 2019 SOYA awards will be held in Mombasa on the 24th of January 2020

The annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) is set to go down on Friday evening in Mombasa with footballer Michael Olunga and bodybuilder Evelyne Owala looking to end dominance amidst stiff competition from  track and field athletes in the top awards.

In the 16 years of the awards, only Collins Injera (2009) and Jason Dunford have won the athlete of the year crowns outside track and field. Both Olunga and Owala have made it into the final shortlist of five for both men’s and women’s awards.

They will battle out with athletics world beaters in what is expected to be a thrilling event in the Coastal town, themed ‘The Night under the stars with the stars.”

In the men’s award, Olunga will battle it out with athletics darling and world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, Diamond champion Timothy Cheruiyot, world and Olympic steeplechase king Conseslus Kipruto, and world Half Marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor.

Kipchoge who was also recently crowned the World Athletics athlete of the year will look to become only the second person to win the crown twice. Till now, it is only Vivian Cheruiyot (2011 and 2016) who has clinched the coveted Sportsperson of the Year crown twice.

In the women’s race, Owala who entered her name in the annals of sports history by emerging the 2019 African champion in the Wellness division as well as the Arnold Classic will muscle it out against track athletes.

Hellen Obiri (5,000m), Ruth Chepng’etich (Marathon) and Beatrice Chepkoech (3,000m steeplechase) will be there to contest and so will Brigid Kosgei, still basking in the heat of her world record breaking run at the Chicago Marathon.

Meanwhile, Vincent Mutai, who won an unprecedented three gold medals at the International Para Athletics Championships last year, and the 2018 Sports Personality of the Year Samuel Muchai are among the nominees for the Sportsman Living with a Disability Award.

Multi-talented Asiya Sururu, who is set for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in rowing and World Para Athletics bronze medallist Nancy Chelagat highlight the Sportswoman Living with a Disability category.

Full list of nominees:

Sportsman of the Year;

‪1. Michael Olunga – Football

‪2. Geoffrey Kamworor – Athletics

‪3. Conseslus Kipruto – Athletics

‪4. Eliud Kipchoge – Athletics

‪5. Timothy Cheruiyot – Athletics

Sportswoman of the Year;

Evelyn Okinyi Owala – Body Building

Beatrice Chepkoech – Athletics

Hellen Obiri – Athletics

Ruth Chepngetich – Athletics

Brigid Kosgei – Athletics

Sportswoman Living with disability;

Beryl Atieno – Deaf Athlete

Catherine Nyaga – Special Olympics

Ruth Jemurgor – Deaf Athlete

Asiya Sururu – Wheelchair Tennis

Nancy Chelagat – Paralympian

Sportsman Living with disability;

John Koech – Deaf Athlete

Onesmus Mutinda – Special Olympics

David Omondi – Deaf Athlete

Samuel Mushai – Paralympian

Vincent Mutai – Paralympian

Coach of the Year;

Alex Alumirah – Vihiga Queens (Football)

Carey Odhiambo – Morans (Basketball)

David Ouma – Harambee Starlets (Football)

Curtis Olago – KCB RFC (Rugby)

Paul Bitok – Malkia Strikers (Volleyball)

Sports Team of the Year men;

Kenya Morans – Basketball

Gor Mahia – Football

KCB RFC – Rugby

Kenya Tennis Beach Team – Tennis

Bandari FC – Football

Sports Team of the Year women;

Malkia Strikers – Volleyball

KPA Women’s Team – Basketball

Vihiga Queens – Football

Kenya Lionesses – Rugby

Harambee Starlets – Football

Most Promising boy;

Albert Njogu – Tennis

Eugine Adare – Basketball

Daniel Sakari – Football

Geoffrey Okwatch – Rugby

Dominic Ndigiti – Athletics

Most Promising girls;

Jentrix Shikangwa – Football

Mary Moraa – Athletics

Belinda Wanjiru – Golf

Faith Atieno – Basketball

Faith Jepkemboi – Athletics

Federation of the Year;

Kenya Motor Sports Federation

Kenya Sports Federation of the Deaf

Kenya Tong-IL Moo-Do Federation

Athletics Kenya

Special Olympics Kenya

Community Hero;

Johanna Omollo – Football

Bernard Makumi – Football/Athletics

Peter Ongondo – Cricket

Erick Kimaiyo – Athletics

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