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Kiptum posthumously named Kenya’s 2023 sportsman of the year

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Kiptum
The late Kevin Kiptum with his World Athletics award. pHOTO/World Athletics
  • Kiptum passed away in a road accident on February 11
  • He set the world record in Chicago in 2023
  • Faith Kipyegon won the women’s title for a third time

 The late Kevin Kiptum was on Friday posthumously awarded the 2023 sportsman of the year title, at the Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) staged in Nairobi, following his brilliant run last year.

Kiptum, the marathon world record holder, sadly passed away on February 11, after a fatal accident near the Kaptagat Forest. The accident also claimed the life of his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. He had already been shortlisted for the award before his passing.

“This is a heavy award to give,” Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba said, as he announced the winner of the award at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre. In his absence, and with his uncle picking the award just less than a week after he was buried, the late Kiptum was given a standing ovation by the entire auditorium.

The 24-year old, whose career came to a screeching halt in the very same town he had honed his skills, enjoyed a stellar 2023.

In only his third career marathon, Kiptum made history, becoming the first man to ever run a marathon in under 2:01 when he broke Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge’s previous world record of 2:01:09 set at Berlin Marathon on September 25, 2022.

He clocked a majestic 2:00:35 in the Chicago Marathon, placing himself on top of the world. Earlier in the year, the majestic Kiptum had blown away the field to win the London Marathon capital in a course record time of 2:01:25 seconds, the second fastest time ever in marathon history. The previous course record of 2:02:37 too was held by Kipchoge from 2019.

Kiptum awarded by World Athletics 

Kiptum

The late Kevin Kiptum winning the Chicago Marathon. PHOTO/World Athletics

His achievements were enough to see Kiptum win the 2023 World Athletics Athlete of the Year Out of Stadia Award- Male.

He had the world at his feet heading in to the 2024 season, and was planning to run the Rotterdam Marathon in April, where he was going to make an attempt of being the first man ever to officially and legally run a marathon in under two hours.

He had also been listed in Kenya’s preliminary marathon list for the Olympic Games in Paris.

Emmanuel Wanyonyi, the 19-year old 800m world champion was the second runner up while Daniel Simiu, a silver medalist in the 10,000m from Budapest, was the first runner up.

“I am delighted to have been second in this award and hopefully it spurs me for the new season. My big target this year is the Olympics and I want to bring the 10,000m title home,” Simiu said after receiving his award.

Meanwhile, Faith Kipyegon won the corresponding women’s title, for the third time in a row. Kipyegon also enjoyed a brilliant campaign in 2023, where she set three new world records, though one was later broken again.

Kipyegon, the 2021 and 2022 winner of the SOYA gong, made history as the first woman to win both the 1,500m and 5,000m titles at a world championship in Budapest.

Kipyegon shatters world records

Faith Kipyegon

Faith Kipyegon wins a gold medal in Budapest. Photo/Supersport

Before heading to Budapest, Kipyegon, 29, shattered three world records in less than two months in the 1500m and 5,000m.

At the Florence Diamond League on June 2, she ran 3:49.11 to break the 1,500m world record. A week later, Kipyegon stepped up to the 5,000m at the Paris Diamond League where she clocked 14:05.20 to erase the previous record of 14:06.62 set by Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey in Valencia on October 7, 2020.

At the Monaco Diamond meet on July 21, 2023, she clocked 4:07.64 to obliterate the previous One Mile record of 4:12.33 set by Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan at the same venue in 2019.

Mary Moraa, the 800m world champion was the second runner up while Beatrice Chebet, the 5km world champion was the first runner up.

“I am delighted to have received this award. I am looking forward to the new season and the first thing I want to work on is defending my world cross country title,” Chebet said after receiving her crown.

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