Ezekiel Kemboi and Eunice Sum are the 2013 Athletics Kenya (AK) male and female athletes of the year.
The two were feted in a ceremony on Thursday night where all athletes who won medals in all major races in the 2012-2013 calendar (World Championships in Moscow, World Youth in Ukraine), Africa Junior Championships in Nigeria, Africa championships in Mauritius and the World Cross-country Championships in Poland) were recognised for their outstanding performance.
The colourful gala marked the end of a three-day athletes’ seminar at Eldoret Sports Club.
Kemboi, who thrilled participants with his trademark dance, was crowned the Most Valuable Male athlete, while Sum, who won 800 meters gold at the World Championships in Moscow, won the women’s title.
In his acceptance speech, the 29-year-old Kemboi said representing Kenya for 13 years has been an honour and being recognised was a humbling experience.
“It is a great honour to be recognised as it has not been easy representing Kenya for 13 years but God has seen me through,” said Kemboi, a three-time World 3,000m steeplechase champion and double Olympic champion. Wilson Kipsang won the World Record Award, thanks to his scintillating performance in the 2013 Berlin Marathon where he set a new record of 2hours, 03.23min.
Double World marathon champion Edna Kiplagat won the Marathon Award, while Africa javelin champion Julius Yego won the Field Events award and the Outstanding Performance award. Youngster Alex Kiprotich walked home with the Most Promising Athlete Award.
Milcah Chemos, who became the first Kenyan woman to win a world 3000m steeplechase gold in Moscow, was awarded the Steeplechase Award alongside Ezekiel Kemboi.
Conseslus Kipruto, who stunned the world to win a world medal right from youth category, won the Most Improved Athlete award alongside Lydia Chepkirui.
The Middle Distance Award went to double 800 meters Asbel Kiprop and Sum. Paul Tanui and Gladys Cherono won the 10,000m Award, while Isaiah Koech ‘chairman’ and world silver medalist Mercy Cherono walked home with the 5000m Awards.
Athlete of the Year: 1. Eunice Sum (Female). 2. Ezekiel Kemboi – Male
World Record Award: 1. Wilson Kipsang. Marathon Award: 1. Edna Kiplagat. Steeplechase Award: 1. Milcah Chemos, 1. Ezekiel Kemboi. Middle
Distance Award: 1. Asbel Kiprop, 2. Eunice Sum. Field Events Award: 1. Julius Yego. Outstanding Athlete Award: 1. Julius Yego.
Most Promising Athlete: 1. Alex Kiprotich. Most Improved Athlete: 1. Conseslus Kipruto, 2. Lydia Chepkirui. 10,000m Award: 1. Paul Tanui, 2. Gladys Cherono. 5000m Award: 1. Isaiah Koech, 2. Mercy Cherono.
Sprints Award: 1. Mike Mokamba, 2. Maureen Chelagat. Coach of the Year: 1.Sammy Rono (senior) 2. Charles Ng’eno (Junior).
Long Service Award: 1. David Letting.
Community Award: 1. Wesley Korir. Veteran athletes Charles Asati, Nyandika Maiyoro, Wilson Kiprugut, Benjamin Jipcho, Mike Boit, Daniel Kimaiyo, Amos Biwott, Hezekiah Nyamau, Daniel Ridisha, Tecla Sang and Mary Chemwe were were also recognised.