Olunga, Jepchirchir declared most Outstanding Sports Personalities of 2020

Michael Olunga

Kashiwa Reysol's Kenyan striker Michael Olunga (left) receives his J-League Golden Boot Award on December 22, 2020.

Photo credit: J League |

What you need to know:

  • The 26-year-old Olunga was declared the Most Valuable Player at the 2020 Japanese J1 League where he was the top scorer with 28 goals with his club Kashiwa Reysol to earn the golden boot
  • Jepchirchir, 27 recaptured the world half marathon title with victory in Gdynia, Poland on October 17
  • Her time of One hour, 05 minutes and 16 seconds was enough to see Jepchirchir bettering her own women’s only half marathon world record by 18 seconds within six weeks

Footballer Michael Olunga and Peres Jepchirchir from athletics are the Outstanding Sports Personalities of the Year 2020.

The 26-year-old Olunga was declared the Most Valuable Player at the 2020 Japanese J1 League where he was the top scorer with 28 goals with his club Kashiwa Reysol to earn the golden boot.

He is the first African player to achieve the feat in the league.

In January this year, Olunga left the club where he signed in 2018 to join Qatar Premier League champions Al-Duhail.

Jepchirchir, 27 recaptured the world half marathon title with victory in Gdynia, Poland on October 17.

Her time of One hour, 05 minutes and 16 seconds was enough to see Jepchirchir bettering her own women’s only half marathon world record by 18 seconds within six weeks.  

Jepchirchir, the 2016 world half marathon champion, had on September 5 shattered the world record with a new time of 1:05:34 in Prague.

That saw her get nominated for the 2020 Female World Athlete of the Year award.

Peres Jepchirchir (right), who won the Outstanding Sportswoman of the Year 2020 and Dominic Ndigiti, who claimed the Innovation Award during the 2020 Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) at Lake Naivasha Resort on February 20, 2021. 
 

Photo credit: Ayumba Ayodi | Nation Media Group

On December 6, last year, Jepchirchir closed the year in style, running the fifth fastest time ever in marathon with victory in Valencia in 2:17:16.

Olunga edged out the likes of boxer Nick Okoth, who won silver at the Africa Olympic qualifier in Senegal to sail through to the Tokyo Olympic Games and Kibiwott Kandie who also won silver at the World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland before breaking the half marathon world record in a time of 57:32 on December 6.

He became the first man to run a half marathon under 58 minutes, breaking compatriot, Geoffrey Kamworor's previous record of 58:01 set in Copenhagen in 2019.

Jepchirchir beat boxer Christine Ongare, who won bronze at the Africa Olympic qualifier in Senegal to qualify for Tokyo Olympics and taekwondo exponent Faith Ogallo, who won gold at the Africa Olympic qualifier to make it to the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

Award winners

Hall of Fame: Ben Jipcho, Rose Naliaka 

Community Hero: Shadrack Wambui 

Corporate Social Responsibility: Fidelis Njoki 

Innovation: Dominic Ndigiti 

Resilience- Sportsman living with a disability: Henry Wanyoike 

Resilience- Sportsman: Daniel Komen 

Outstanding Sportswoman living with a disability: Nancy Chelangat 

Outstanding Sportsman living with a disability: Onesmus Munyao 

Outstanding Sportswoman: Peres Jepchirchir 

Outstanding Sportsman: Michael Olunga

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