Kelvin Kiptum: A legacy that outran time - honored posthumously at SOYA Awards gala

© Kelvin Kiptum

ATHLETICS Kelvin Kiptum: A legacy that outran time - honored posthumously at SOYA Awards gala

Festus Chuma 10:34 - 02.03.2024

Late Kelvin Kiptum and Faith Kipyegon were honored as Kenya's top athletes at SOYA Gala, celebrating historic feats in athletics.

The late world marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum and double world record holder Faith Kipyegon were celebrated as Kenya's top athletes at the poignant 20th edition of the Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) Gala, held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi. 

In a ceremony that paid tribute to their remarkable achievements, Kiptum was posthumously awarded the Sportsman of the Year, while Kipyegon clinched the Sportswoman of the Year Award for the third consecutive year.

The gala honored the duo for their historic feats in the world of athletics, including breaking world records in their respective disciplines.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, visibly moved during the announcement, expressed the nation's collective wish that Kiptum could have been there to accept his award. 

"This is a difficult one. How I wish he was here to pick this accolade himself," Namwamba said, highlighting the bittersweet nature of the occasion.

Kiptum's legacy was celebrated just a week after he was laid to rest, following a tragic road accident on February 11 that also claimed the life of his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. 

Despite his untimely passing, Kiptum's impact on marathon running was undeniable. 

Within a span of 10 months, he revolutionized the sport, setting three of the fastest times in marathon history. 

His record-breaking run at the London Marathon, where he finished in 2:01:25, and his astonishing performance in October, shattering the world record with a time of 2:00:35, were particularly highlighted. 

Kiptum's achievements not only broke records but also set a new standard in marathon running, making him the first man to complete a marathon in under two hours and one minute.

In his absence, the award was accepted by former world marathon record holder Patrick Makau, who received it on behalf of Kiptum's grieving family. 

The women's category saw Kipyegon triumph over formidable competitors, including 5km world record holder Beatrice Chebet and world 800m champion Mary Moraa.

 Kipyegon's year was defined by her unparalleled success in breaking three world records in the 1500m, the 5,000m, and the mile. 

Although her 5,000m record was later surpassed, Kipyegon's achievements, including her unprecedented double victory in the 1,500m and 5,000m at the World Championships in Budapest, underscored her dominance in middle-distance running.

The SOYA Gala also celebrated team achievements, with the national women’s 3x3 basketball team taking home the Women’s Team of the Year Award. 

Their victory at the FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup in Cairo was a testament to their skill and dedication. 

The Malkia Strikers, Kenya's national women’s volleyball team, were runners-up, honored for winning their tenth African Nations Volleyball Championships title in Cameroon. 

The Roll Ball national team was recognized as well for defending their World Cup title with a 5-0 victory over Egypt in Pune, India.

Follow Pulse Sports WhatsApp channel for more news.