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AK set to award best athletes

Wednesday December 1 2010

Middle distance runner, Kenyan David Rudisha poses with his trophy after being awarded male athlete of the year 2010, on November 21, 2010 in Monaco. Rudisha is among the athletes to be feted during upcoming Golden Gala. AFP PHOTO

Middle distance runner, Kenyan David Rudisha poses with his trophy after being awarded male athlete of the year 2010, on November 21, 2010 in Monaco. Rudisha is among the athletes to be feted during upcoming Golden Gala. AFP PHOTO  

By CHRIS MUSUMBA [email protected]

World Athlete of the Year David Rudisha and Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru are among the 47 gold medallists lined up for awards at the inaugural Athletics Kenya (AK) Golden Gala Night at Crown Plaza, Nairobi, on December 15.

Joseph Kinyua, the chairman of the award committee, however acknowledged their dilemma of selecting deserving winners.

“We have 47 gold medallists in 2010. If we are to award those, what about the others who have excelled in races across the world? That is why we call it the Golden Gala; we want to reward the golden athletes,” said Kinyua.

The awards committee members are David Okeyo, Ibrahim Hussein, Mary Chege, Susan Kamau and Margaret Gitau.

National Bank of Kenya has moved in to finance the awards gala, pumping in Sh2 million, although the total budget is estimated at Sh4 million. NBK chief branch manager Joseph Njagi said his firm was happy to be associated with the event.

Underscores the sacrifice

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Rudisha, the current world record holder over the 800m distance at 1:41.01, said the recognition being given to athletes was timely and underscores the sacrifice they put in training and the hard work.

“I am happy AK is thinking of rewarding us. Having just come from such a function in Monaco, this still makes me wonder if I will win,” said Rudisha.

“But it is the best thing to do. This will inspire athletes to move out and do more.”

Kinyua conceded that AK is spoilt for choice on which athlete to honour after an exemplary performances by local runners at the international arena.

“If we are to name Milcah Chemos the athlete of the year, what will people think of Vivian Cheruiyot, or Nancy Jebet Lagat? That is the situation we are in,” said Kinyua.

Besides 47 gold medallists who will get trophies and cash, also to be awarded are those who broke world records, heads of delegations, best team manager and best head coach. The top five sponsors to the federation will get special mention.

“There will also be a particular category for special achievers. We are talking of people like Kipchoge Keino, Daniel Rudisha, Paul Tergat, Tegla Loroupe and others. Those who have left a mark on the sport,” said Kinyua.

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