David Rudisha on Thursday won the Kenya’s Safaricom Sports personality of the year, SOYA award at a colourful ceremony held at the Carnivore Grounds Nairobi, his world record run at the Olympics tilting the votes in his favour ahead of Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi, Celtic star Victor Wanyama and Swimmer Jason Dunford.
Rudisha not only won the overall title but also picked the Sportsman of the year award, the first athlete to win the SOYA trophy twice in the gala’s nine-year history.
“It’s been a very successful year for me after winning the IAAF performance of the year and Athletics Kenya awards. I thank my coach Brother Colm who has helped me since 2004. I never thought I would make it this far,” said a beaming Rudisha.
The Sportswoman award went to Mary Keitainy, the World marathon major winner following her London marathon victory and Olympic bronze medal.
Rudisha capped off a highly successful 2012 by lowering his world record to 1.40.91 at the London race that saw all the seven finalists raise their individual performances.
“This awards motivates us to do better and motivate our youth.As we head towards the elections I would urge our leaders to emulate the spirit of competition, when they lose,”added Rudisha.
“Kenyans sports men and women be the ambassadors of peace. There is alot we can learn from the athletes when you lose you wait to fight another day,” echoed Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba in reference to the 2007 post election violence ahead of the March 2013 general elections.
He edged out Kemboi who picked his second Olympic title after Athens (runner-up)and Wanyama,the Kenyan international who is now considered one of the most promising centre backs in the Scottish league, in both the overall and sportsman award.
Keitany was picked ahead of Vivian Cheruiyot, the 2011 SOYA winner in the category dominated by runners as Priscah Jeptoo the Olympic silver medallist ranked third.
Jelimo bags Comeback award, Tusker FC team of the year
Reigning World indoor 800m champion Pamela Jelimo bogged down by a string of injuries after her Olympic triumph in Beijing won the inaugural comeback award after overcoming a difficult last three years to make the London final.
World Paralympic record holder in the 1500m T46 and 800m bronze medallist Abraham Tarbei won the men’s special category while Mary Nakhumicha won the women’s crown.
Deaflympics coach Caroline Kola who led the Kenyan team to an impressive four gold medal haul at the World deaf athletics championships in Canada won the coach of the year award.
After providing an exciting finish to the Kenya Premier League, Gor Mahia and Tusker went neck to neck again for the SOYA team title with the Premier league champions winning the team diadem.
It was football talk yet again in the women’s team category, which went to the Starlets, the under 20 national football team, which just missed Africa cup qualification,ahead of the rugby team and African volleyball club champions Kenya Prisons.
Runners Mercy Chebwogen and Timothy Kitum were named the promising athletes of the season as Malava volleyball girls and St.Anthony hockey boys won the schools awards.
The SOYA 2012 winners:
Overall Sports Personality: David Rudisha(Athletics)
Sportsman: David Rudisha(Athletics)
Sportswoman of the year: Mary Keitany(Athletics)
Coach of the Year: Caroline Kola (Deaf Athletics)
Sports team (women): National Under 20 football
Sports team Men: Tusker FC
Special category (women):Mary Nakhumicha(Paralympics)
Special (men): Abraham Tarbei(Paralympics)
Most promising (girls):Mercy Chebwogen,(Athletics)
Most Promising (boys):Timothy Kitum(Athletics)
Comeback award:Pamela Jelimo(Athletics)
Community Hero/Heroine: Philip Boit(Volleyball)
Sports Federation:Kenya Paralympic Association
Schools team (Boys): St Anthony
School team (girls): Malava Girls
Hall of Fame inductee: Tecla Chemabwai(Athletics)