World record holder Patrick Makau’s victory at the Frankfurt Marathon last weekend has catapulted him to the nomination for the Safaricom Sportsman of the Year Awards.
Makau won the 31st edition of Frankfurt Marathon in 2:06:08, a victory which came against the backdrop of allegations of doping. Makau, who holds the world marathon record of 2:03.38, has denied any association with the doping.
Makau will face athletes—David Rudisha (800m), Ezekiel Kembo (3,000m), Julius Yego (javelin), Abel Kirui (Marathon) and Wilson Kipsang (Marathon) in the race for the Soya’s top men’s award.
Rudisha broke the world record in 800m on his way to winning the Olympic gold medal in London last August, while Kemboi was the only other gold medallist in London.
Yego broke into new ranks as far as the country’s participation in field events is concerned by posting a national record and becoming the first Kenyan to reach the javelin final at the Olympic Games. Kirui and Kipsang finished second and third respectively at the Olympic stage after falling to Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich at the Summer Games.
Also in the running for the top Sportsman award will be rugby players William Ambaka and Dennis Ombachi, who have been impressive on both the local and international rugby scene.
Scotland-based Kenyan professional footballer Victor Mugubi who turns out for Scottish champions Celtic will be the other big name to watch out for the top award.
He is listed alongside top Kenya Premier League scorer John Baraza from Sofapaka and Chemelil’s Mike Mururi. Swimmer Jason Dunford, a former Sportsman of the Year will also be seeking to recapture the title after ruling the Africa swimming Championships among other events.
This year’s Safaricom SOYA Awards are scheduled for December 6 and will be co-sponsored by National Bank among other corporates.
Panel Secretary Simon Chebon said he anticipates a very tough race this year going by the calibre of competitors in the Sportsman category.