Zarika, Obiri headline list for Soya accolade - Daily Nation

Zarika, Obiri headline list for Soya accolade

Sunday January 6 2019

Kenya's Fatuma

Kenya's Fatuma "Iron Fist" Zarika (centre) celebrates after retaining her World Boxing Council (WBC) female world super-bantam weight title against Mexico's Yamileth Mercado on September 8, 2018 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By AYUMBA AYODI
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Reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) World female super bantamweight champion Fatuma Zarika and rugby star Janet Okello are up against a horde of athletes in the race for Sportswoman of the Year accolades in 2018 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya).

Zarika and Okello, the Kenya Sevens women's rugby team, Lionesses kingpin, are against Commonwealth Games and Africa 5,000 metres champion Hellen Obiri, and World 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech.

Also in contention for the title is World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Cellphine Chespol. The winner will be known on Friday during Soya Gala night at Fort Jesus in Mombasa.

Zarika retained her WBC female world super-bantamweight title for the second time, beating Mexican Yamileth Mercado in September last year at Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
Top try-scorer

Okello was Lionesses’ top try scorer in all competitions with 15 tries.

In the Africa Sevens, where Kenya were crowned champions for the first time, Okello touched down eight tries and was the star in the women’s World Sevens Series qualifiers in Hong Kong, where she scored seven tries as Kenya reached the Cup semi-finals, a big improvement from the previous season where the team was eliminated in the quarter-finals. At the Commonwealth Games, she scored three tries as Kenya finished sixth overall after losing to Fiji 40-5.

She was named the MVP at 2018 Safari Sevens tournament, helping Kenya to retain the title.

Obiri won the Commonwealth Games 5,000m title in Gold Coast in 15:13.11 in April and went on to win the National Championships title in 15min,09.82sec in June, setting the stage for her maiden Africa title in 15:47.18 last August.

The 28-year-old claimed her first Diamond League Trophy in 3,000m/5,000m after she won the final 5,000m race in Zurich in a time of 14:38.39.

Chepkoech has been phenomenal this season, taking silver in 1,500m at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in personal best 4:03.09 before winning Africa title in a Championship Record time of 8:59.88 on August 5 in Asaba, Nigeria.

Chepkoech won four of her five Diamond League races this season with victory in Monaco, on July 20 producing a world record time of 8:44.32 to become the first woman to run under 8 minutes and 50 seconds. She shattered Bahrain athlete Ruth Jebet’s previous record of 8:52.78 by nine seconds.

Chespol won senior women’s 10km race at the Africa Cross Country Championships in March, and took 3,000m steeplechase silver at the Commonwealth Games and retained World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase title in a championship record of 9:12.78. She took silver at Africa Championships.

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