Olympic champions Eliud Kipchoge (Marathon) and Vivian Cheruiyot (10,000m) are the 2016 Athletes of the Year.
Kipchoge, who became the second Kenyan to claim the Olympic marathon gold in Rio de Janeiro after the late Samuel Wanjiru’s exploits in 2008 Beijing, was crowned on Wednesday alongside Cheruiyot, the first Kenyan woman to win the 5,000m Olympic crown during the annual Athletics Kenya Golden Gala.
It was Kipchoge’s third Olympic medal, having won bronze in 5,000m at 2004 Athens and silver over the same distance at 2008 Beijing Games.
Kipchoge, the 2003 World 5,000m champion, also retained his London Marathon title in April in a course record time 2 hours, 03 minutes and 05 seconds.
Kipchoge also shattered the 30km World Record during the London Marathon with a new time of 1 hour, 27 minutes and 13 seconds.
This feat saw Kipchoge win the World Marathon Majors for a share of the Sh100milion jackpot as well as Association of International Marathon Series.
Kipchoge edged out the other top three finalists; Conseslus Kipruto, who won the Olympic 3,000m title besides the 2016 Diamond League 3,000m steeplechase Trophy and David Rudisha, who retained his Olympic 800m title.
Kipchoge also won the Road Running Athlete for The Year category, beating Geoffrey Kamworor, who retained his World Half Marathon title in Cardiff and Paris Marathon champion Cyprian Kotut.
Cheruiyot, the World 10,000m champion, won the 10,000m silver at the Rio Games in a National Record of 29 minutes, 32.53 seconds.
That set the stage for her 5,000m victory in an Olympic Record time of 14:26.17 seconds, as she guided compatriot Hellen Obiri to a 1-2 finish.
Cheruiyot edged out fellow Olympic champions Jemimah Sumgong (Marathon) and Faith Chepng’etich (1,500m) for the top award for the second year running.
Kipruto, who claimed Olympic 3,000m steeplechase title in an Olympic Games Record of 8 minutes 03.28 seconds, won the Long Distance Athlete of the Year award, beating Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Paul Tanui and World Indoor 3,000m bronze medallist Augustine Choge.
Rudisha, a past Athlete of the Year winner, was declared the Middle Distance Athlete of the Year, beating 2016 Diamond League 800m Trophy winner Ferguson Rotich and Asbel Kiprop, who also won the 2016 Diamond League Trophy in 1,500m.
Cheruiyot also won the Long Distance Athlete of the Year Award, beating Obiri and Olympic 3,000m steeplechase Hyvin Kiyeng to the gong. Sumgong went for the Road Running award while Chepng’etcih won the Middle Distance title.
Unlike the previous events, this year’s gala adopted the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) style where only winners are recognised save for the Young Athlete of the Year category where the top three were awarded.
Kipyegon Bett and Cellphine Chesol were declared male and female Young Athletes of the Year respectively.
Bett stunned favourite Willy Tarbei to win the World Under-20 Championships 800m race in 1:44.95 seconds. He also set a personal best of 1:43.76 minutes at the Berlin IAAF World Challenge.
Bett beat Rodgers Kwemoi and Amos Kirui to second and third places respectively. Kwemoi won the World Under-20 10,000m title in a Championship Record time of 27:25.23 minutes while Kirui took the 3,000m steeplechase title in a world leading time of 8:20.43.
Julius Kirwa from Kenya Defence Forces, who led Kenya to its most successful Olympic outing in Rio where they won six gold, six silver and one bronze medal, got win Coach of the Year Award.
Africa race walk champions Samuel Gathimba and Grace Wanjiru were rewarded with Most Outstanding Performance Awards.
Athlete of the Year
Male: Eliud Kipchoge (Marathon)
Female: Vivian Cheruyiot (10,000m, 5,000m)
Young Athlete of the Year
Male: 1. Kipyegon Bett (800m), 2. Rogers Kwemoi (10,000m), 3. Amos Kirui (3,000m SC)
Female: 1. Cellphine Chespol (3,000m s/c), 2. Maureen Thomas (400m), 3. Emmaculate Chepkirui (5,000m):
Sprinter of the Year
Male: Boniface Mucheru
Female: Maureen Jelagat (400m)
Middle Distance Athlete of the Year
Male: David Rudisha (800m)
Female: Faith Chepng’etich (1,500m)
Long Distance Athlete of the Year
Male: Conseslus Kipruto (3,000m steeplechase)
Female: Vivian Cheruiyot (10,000m)
Field Athlete of the Year
Male: Julius Yego (Javelin)
Road Running Athlete the Year
Male: Eliud Kipchoge (Marathon)
Female: Jemimah Sumgong (Marathon)
Male: Simon Gathimba (Race walk)
Female: Grace Wanjiru (Race walk)
Comeback of the Year
Abel Kirui (Marathon)
Coach of the Year
Julius Kirwa (Rio Olympics)
Athletics Kenya Gold Award
Isaiah Kiplagat (Late)