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Athletics

Three World U20 stars, Nominees for SOYA awards at next month.

Chepkoech dominates U20 title
Jackline Chepkoech celebrates after winning the 3,000m steeplechase gold

Three stars from this year’s World Under-20 Championships staged in Nairobi have made the final shortlist of five for the most promising girl Nominees for SOYA awards at next month’s Sports Personality of the Year gala.

The awards are scheduled to take place in Kakamega on January 19.

Purity Chepkirui, Teresia Muthoni and Jackline Chepkoech, all who won gold medals at the showpiece staged at the Moi Sports Centre in Kasarani have been shortlisted for the piece of silverware.

Chepkirui won the 1,500m title at the event staged in Nairobi, becoming the first Kenyan girl to win the race in nine years. The last Kenyan athlete to win the title was two-time Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon.

Chepkirui commanded the field to win the title in 4:16.07 to end Ethiopia’s dominance, as her compatriot Winnie Jemutai clocked 4:18.99 for bronze. She also won the women’s Under-20 race during the National Cross Country Championships in February this year.

Muthoni meanwhile has been nominated, having won Kenya’s first gold medal at the Under-20 showpiece when she led a Kenyan 1-2 finish in the 3,000m, finishing first ahead of Zenah Jemutai.

Muthoni triumphed in a personal best time of 13:20.37 seconds as Jemutai took silver in 13:20.65.

Teresiah Muthoni Gateri Kenya 3000m Omondi Onyango scaled

Teresiah Gateri Gold medalist celebrate after competing in the 3000m women race during the World Athletics U20 Championships being held at the Moi International Stadium in Kasarani on August 19, 2021. Photo/Fredrick Omondi

Chepkoech is the third track nominee in the category, having clinched Kenya’s first gold medal at the World U20, dominating 3,000m steeplechase, winning the race in personal best time of 9:27.40.

The three have been nominated for the award alongside 11-year-old tennis player Selline Ahoya. Ahoya, a pupil at St. Bridget Catholic Primary school is ranked first in the Under 12 national rankings.

She was a finalist in the Under-14 category during the Confederation of African Tennis championship in June and in September, she won the Under-12 category at the Tennis Kenya Junior challenge.

She bounced back to the top of her game once again in October winning the Under-12 category in the East Africa teams’ competition in Kampala, Uganda where she also won the overall title to qualify for the November Africa junior championship in Tunisia.

Also nominated for the award is Vihiga Queens striker Violet Nanjala. The 19-year-old was signed by Vihiga Queens from Trans Nzoia Falcons after topping the Zone B FKF Women’s Premier League side with 21 goals thanks to four hat-tricks.

Nanjala scored four goals in the inaugural 2021 CAF Women’s Champions League CECAFA Qualifiers, netting all in one game against South Sudan’s Yei Join Stars.

Most Promising Girl Nominees for SOYA awards:

Selline Ahoya- Tennis

Purity Chepkirui- Athletics

Teresia Muthoni Gathering- Athletics

Jackline Chepkoech- Athletics

Violet Nanjala- Football

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