Eliud Kipchoge and Vivian Cheruiyot scoop top awards

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Eliud Kipchoge crossing the line at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon last month in Delhi City, India
Eliud Kipchoge crossing the line at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon last month in Delhi City, India

Rio Olympics marathon winner Eliud Kipchoge has been named the male athlete of the year by Athletics Kenya, while Vivian Cheruiyot scooped the female athlete of the year. Eliud Kipchoge overcame stiff competition from Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto and David Rudisha. He encouraged other athletes not to lose faith, citing his dedication after many years “I have been awarded the Best Athlete of the Year after the 13th year of trying,” he said, “My gratitude goes to my family, Athletics Kenya and the media for their love and support.”

Vivian Cheruiyot had an impressive 5,000m race in the Rio Olympics, after she set an Olympic record time of 14 minutes 26.17 seconds. She overcame the then favourite Ayana Almaz from Ethiopia. Her competition for the award Jemimah Sumgong who was deemed as the favourite by many had an impressive year too. She became the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic Marathon gold medal, ahead of Bahraini’s Eunice Kirwa. “Special thank you to my husband who supported me a lot throughout and I also want to urge the Athletics Kenya to support upcoming athletes,” said Cheruiyot.

Other winners included Maurine Jelagat Maiyo who won the female sprinter athlete of the year, Boniface Mucheru is the Male sprinter athlete of the year, Faith Kipyegon was named the Middle Distance Athlete of the year, while Conseslus Kipruto is the Male long distance Athlete of the year. Abel Kirui, who won the Chicago Marathon, is the comeback athlete of the year. The 2016 Coach of the year award was awarded to Julius Kirwa, who was the Head of Kenya’s 2016 Rio Olympics team.