Kenyans have taken to social media to celebrate world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge who was on Friday named 2018 Sportsman of the Year after beating a strong field of six competitors at the Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year awards (Soya) at Fort Jesus in Mombasa.
This was the second win for the legendary long-distance athlete in two years.
Kipchoge was widely expected to triumph following his exploits in the past year, and especially his record-breaking heroics at the Berlin marathon, followed by his crowning as the IAAF 2018 World Athlete of the Year.
The other candidates who the final shortlist in this category were the 3,000m steeplechase and Olympics and World champion Consenslus Kipruto, the 1,500m Commonwealth and World champion Elijah Manangoi, Kenya rugby sevens star William Ambaka and Harambee Stars goalkeeper Patrick Matasi in what was a tight race.
In the women’s category, Beatrice Chepkoech, the Africa, continental and IAAF Diamond League series steeplechase sensation beat fellow athlete Hellen Obiri, star boxer Fatuma Zarika and rugby star Janet Okello to win the Sportswoman of the year award.
Rising star Angela Okutoyi won the girl’s category in the Most Promising player awards whilst Edward Zakayo who easily won the 5000m Commonwealth Games bronze scooped the boy’s award.
Athletics Kenya, Football Kenya Federation, Telkom Kenya, Harambee Stars, Gor Mahia also triumphed in various categories at the ceremony which was attended by among other Mombasa governor Ali Hassan Joho, Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and Ivorian sprinter Marie Josee Ta Lou.
But the day belonged to Kipchoge. Here are some of the congratulatory messages he received from the online community:
— Carol Radull (@CarolRadull) January 11, 2019
— Evelyn Watta (@evelynwatta) January 11, 2019
— #BeyondChristmas (@RoyalPressUnit) January 12, 2019
Kenya`s all-time greatest marathoner Eliud Kipchoge caps an impeccable season by bagging the 2018 SOYA Sportsman of the Year award. https://t.co/oVRicfT6rI
— Waihiga Mwaura 🇰🇪 (@WaihigaMwaura) January 11, 2019
This is well deserved.. congratulations @EliudKipchoge
— Sean Cardovillis (@seancardo1) January 12, 2019