Viva Vivian Cheruiyot! Kenya’s best athlete of 2016

Thursday January 19 2017

Olympic 5,000m champion Vivian “Pocket Rocket” Cheruiyot is the 2016 Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) winner.

Cheruiyot, who also won silver in 10,000m at the Rio Olympic Games, edged out Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge and Paralympians Samuel Muchai and Nancy Koech to reclaim the overall title she last won in 2011.

The 33-year-old Cheruiyot, who had two medals from the 2012 London wrapped up her Rio outing with an Olympic record time of 14 minutes and 26.17 seconds in 5,000m, leading compatriot Hellen Obiri to a 1-2 finish. The Kenyans stunned pre-race favourite Almaz Ayana from Ethiopia to third.

Cheruiyot, the 10,000m World champion, had earlier won silver in 10,000 in a national record time of 29:32.53, losing the battle to Ayana, who returned a world record time of 29:17.45.

Cheruiyot also bagged the 2016 Sportswoman of the Year award, beating fellow Olympic gold medallist Faith Chepng’etich (1,500m) and Jemimah Sumgong (marathon).


Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) winner Vivian Cheruiyot display's her trophy on January 19, 2017 during the Soya Gala at KICC. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |


Vivian Cheruiyot (right) arrives for the Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) with her husband Kiprugut Kirui on January 19, 2017 at the Soya Gala at KICC. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

The honours were a replica of the 2016 Athletics Kenya Athlete of the Year female awards.


The 2016 Athletes of the Year Eliud Kipchoge (second left) and Vivian Cheruiyot pose with their trophies joined by IAAF Vice President Melboum Kalkaba (left) and Athletics Kenya President Rtd Lt Gen Jack Tuwei (right) on December 7, 2016 at Panari Hotel. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |


Coach Julius Kirwa (left), Vivian Cheruiyot (centre) and Eliud Kipchoge at the Athletics Kenya 2015-2016 Gala Awards on December 7, 2016 at Panari Hotel. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Cheruiyot, who is the only other athlete to have won the women’s award twice after Catherine Ndereba (2004, 2005) and Janeth Jepkosgei (2006, 2007), received a glamorous trophy and Sh1 million prize money from chief guest running legend Haile Gebrselassie.

Cheruiyot recently quit track after a chequered career spanning 18 years to turn her focus on road running.

She will make her debut at the London Marathon in April.


Chepng’etich clocked 4:08.92 to beat Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in 4:10.27. Chepng’etich had lost the battle to Dibaba at last year’s World Championships where she settled for silver.


Faith Chepng'etich reacts after stunning World champion and record holder Genzebe Dibaba from Ethiopia in Rio to win the women’s 1,500m gold. PHOTO | AFP

Chepng’etich broke the Kenyan 1,500m record twice, in Shanghai with a world leading and meet record 3:56.82 before improving the National Record with victory in Eugene in 3:56.41.

Sumgong, who had won the London Marathon, handed Kenya its maiden marathon victory at the Rio Summer Games, the two performances that saw her win the World Marathon Majors.

Kipchoge, the 2016 AK Athlete of the Year winner, extended his reign to Soya, bagging the Sportsman of the Year award, beating Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto to second place.

Olympic and World 800m champion David Rudisha and Collins Injera, the World Sevens Series all-time top try scorer (235), shared the third spot.


Collins Injera celebrates his World Rugby Sevens Series 231st try at London Sevens on Saturday that made him the all-time top try scorer in the tournament. PHOTO | MARTIN SERAS | AFP

Kenya Sevens bagged the Team of the Year award, no doubt swaying the voting after their historic Singapore Sevens win in the World Rugby Series, beating SportPesa Premier League champions Tusker FC and Kenya Simbas 15 rugby team. It was the country’s first leg title in the history of the Series.


Muchai, who won two gold medals in gold in the T11 men’s 1500m and 5000m at the Rio Paralympics was declared Sportsman Living with a Disability, beating fellow Paralympian Henry Kirwa and National Wheelchair champion Peter Munuve to second and third respectively.

Koech, the only woman to win a medal at Rio Paralympics with silver in 1,500m T11, went for women’s top honours, beating Nelly Sile and Irene Cherono.

World Under-20 800m champion Kipyegon Bett won the Most Promising Boy award, beating Ryan Randiek (Tennis) and Joseph Okumu (football).


Kipyegon Bett celebrates after winning his semi-final to qualify for men's 800m final at the World Under-20 Championships on July 23, 2016 at Zawisza Stadium, Bydgoszcz Poland. PHOTO | AYUMBA AYODI | NMG

Telkom Orange hockey team tactician Jos Openda walked away with Coach of the Year gong while Philip Onyango received School Coach of the Year award after guiding Kaya Tiwi to regional and National titles. The school claimed School for the Year (Girls) award.


Telkom Orange coach Jos Openda poses with the Africa Cup of Club Championship trophy and winners' medal at the City Park Stadium on January 15, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

2016 Sports Personality of the Year: Vivian Cheruiyot (Athletics)

Sportsman of the Year: 1. Eliud Kipchoge (Athletics, Marathon)), 2. Conseslus Kipruto (Athletics, 3,000m steeplechase), 3. Collins Injera (Kenya Sevens rugby)/David Rudisha (Athletics, 800m)

Sportswoman of the Year: 1. Vivian Cheruiyot (Athletics, 10,000m, 5,000m), 2. Faith Chepng’etich (Athletics, 1,500m), 3. Jemimah Sumgong (Athletics, marathon)

Sportsman Living with a Disability: Samuel Muchai (Athletics, T11- 1,500m, 5,000m), Henry Kirwa (T13-1,500m, 5,000m)

Sportsman Living with a Disability: 1. Nancy Koech (Athletics), 2. Nelly Sile (Athletics), 3. Irene Cherono (Athletics).

Most Promising Boy: 1. Kipyegon Bett (Athletics), 2.Ryan Randiek (tennis), 3. Joseph Okumu (football)

Most Promising Girl: 1. Mwanahalima Adam (football), 2. Kelly Gachaga (Golf), 3. Sneha Kotecha (Tennis)

Team of the Year –Men: 1. Kenya Sevens (Rugby), 2. Tusker FC (fotball), 3. Kenya Simbas (rugby)

Team of the Year - Women: 1. Harambee Starlets, 2. Telkom Orange (hockey), 3. National Roll Ball Team

Sports Federation of the Year: 1. Tennis Kenya, 2. Football Kenya Federation 3. KSSSA

School Team of the Year-Boys: 1. Kamusinga (Hockey), 2. Kakamega (Rugby), 3. Upperhill (Basketball)

School Team of the Year-Girls: Kaya Tiwi (Basketball), 2. Sinyolo Girls( Hockey), 3. AIC Kosirai (volleyball)

School Player of the Year Girls: Haddasah Gichovi (Athletics)

School Player of the Year Boys: Allan Singar

School Coach of the Year: Philip Onyango

Coach of the Year: Jos Openda (Telkom Orange)

Hall of Fame: Jackson Omaido (rugby), Naftali Temu (Athletics)

Community Hero: Felix Oloo