Olympics marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, 100m national record holder Ferdinand Omanyala and Kenya Sevens legend Humphrey Kayange were among top 30 sports personalities feted at this year’s Mashujaa Day.
Harambee Stars all-time top scorer Dennis Oliech is the other legend who received recognition as the country’s sports heroes, this year.
The list containing both active and retired sportsmen and women were awarded at the Wanguru Stadium in Kirinyaga County during yesterday’s Mashujaa Day celebrations.
However, missing in the list was Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon – one of the country’s outstanding performers in athletics this year.
Chepngetich who comes from Nakuru County won the country gold in the 1500m at the Tokyo Olympics.
Last month, the two-time Olympic champion proved to Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan that she was still the queen of 1500m.
Moses Kipkosgei, an athletics enthusiast, said he had high expectations that Chepngetich would feature in the list after the 2020 accomplishments.
“Let us consider performance. Faith really worked hard this year and deserved recognition. It is my hope that she gets recognised by world athletics in this year’s awards,” he said.
In athletics, Peres Jepchirichir from Nandi was recognised. Jepchirchir was the 2016 world half marathon champion. Jepchichir won gold for Kenya at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics women’s marathon. In 2017, she broke the world record in the half marathon at Ras Al Khaimah in Dubai. She broke her own record in 2020 at the Prague half marathon in Czech Republic.
100m sensation Ferdinand Omanyala also featured prominently in the list. He was recognised for several achievements such as Nigeria Grand Prix April win, a 10.01 sec new record, Olympic Pre-trials time of 10.13 sec and 10.02 sec as well as Olympic semifinals run (10.00) which was also a new national record.
Omanyala was also recognised for his achievement at this year’s Austria Grand Prix where he won in 9.86 seconds, which became the 8th fastest time in the world. Lahti Motonet Grand Prix 10.09 seconds win (breaking 26-year-old stadium record) got him into the list. He also won White City Games Find Land in 10.06 and came fourth at the Brussels Diamond League.
Lawrence Cherono (from Baringo) who finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics was recognised for outstanding performance at the 2019 Chicago marathon.
In rugby, legend Humphrey Kayange featured prominently. He competed in the World Rugby Seven Series (2005-2016) before chairing the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) athletes’ Commission. He is the executive board member at Kenya Academy of Sports.
Dennis Oliech from Kisumu County was recognised in football alongide John Bob Oyugi from Siaya County. Oliech represented the country at Africa and World Qualifiers. He played professional football in Qatar and France. Oliech ‘the menace’ is considered as one of the most talented Kenyan footballers.
Linus Wachoka, the 2004 national and prisons wrestling coach, was also feted.