What you need to know:
- However, they will have to beat two football teams- Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL) champions Tusker and newly promoted Premier League side Talanta FC- for the award.
- The national women’s beach volleyball team and Vihiga Queens Football Club will battle the women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, women’s sevens rugby team, Kenya Lionesses and women’s basketball team for Team of the Year Award-female award.
The 18th edition of the Sports Personality of the Year Award (Soya) Gala goes down Tuesday night at the iconic Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega County.
Unlike the year 2020 when the world of sports was virtually brought to a halt due to Covid-19, last year was marked with tremendous recovery with action resuming, hence this year’s theme “Road to Recovery.”
Kenya’s sportsmen and women once again made their presence felt globally with standout performances, making this year’s Soya quite competitive.
The Western region will for the first time play host to the event that seeks to reward the country’s top performing athletes, having moved from Nairobi from the first time with Mombasa hosting the 2018 and 2019 editions.
Nakuru staged the 2020 edition. Kakamega County Government, Lotto Foundation, CPF Financial Services, National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and Safaricom are the event's sponsors.
Kakamega County Governor Wycliffe Oparanya will be the guest of honour, while former football international Dennis “The Menace” Oliech is the sports celebrity guest.
The Gala that will have athletes being honoured in 10 categories goes down from 6pm.
The sporting scene waits with bated breath to know who will be the 2021 Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year respectively with the nominees’ astute performances making it too close to call.
It will be interesting to see if sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala, rugby player Alvin 'Buffa' Otieno and rally ace Carl Tundo will edge out Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Eliud Kipchoge (marathon) and Emmanuel Korir (800m) for the Sportsman of the Year award.
Kipchoge won the 2018 and 2019 awards.
Rally driver Maxime Wahome and Harambee Starlets striker Jentrix Shikanga will also be seeking to outwit Olympic champions Faith Chepng’etich (1,500m) and Peres Jepchirchir (Marathon) for the Sportswoman of the Year Award.
Others in contention are the fast-rising tennis star Angela Okutoyi and volleyballer Sharon Chepchumba. Jepchirchir won the 2020 award.
Athletics dominate the Most Promising Boy and Girl awards.
Kenya Rugby Under-20 fly-half Andrew Matoka and the 17-year-old Muthaiga junior golfer Taimur Malik face three 2021 World Athletics Under-20 Championships gold medallists; Heriston Wanyonyi (race walk), Emmanuel Wanyonyi (800m) and Vincent Keter (1,500) for the Boy’s top award.
Tennis player Selline Ahoya and Vihiga Queens striker Violet Nanjala have been nominated for the Girls' award that has also has three gold medallist from the World Athletics Under-20 Championships- Purity Chepkirui (1,500m), Teresia Muthoni Gatheri (3,000m) and Jackline Chepkoech (3,000m steeplechase).
Double World Deaf Athletics champion Simon Kibai and Tokyo Paralympics women's 1,500 metres T11 bronze medallist Nancy Chelangat are among the nominees for 2021 Sportsmen and Women Living with a Disability Awards.
Rugby teams dominate the Team of the Year Award-male nominations.
Kenya Sevens team Shujaa, Kenya Cup champion KCB Rugby and Kabras Sugar Rugby hope that one of them will be declared winners.
However, they will have to beat two football teams- Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL) champions Tusker and newly promoted Premier League side Talanta FC- for the award.
The national women’s beach volleyball team and Vihiga Queens Football Club will battle the women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, women’s sevens rugby team, Kenya Lionesses and women’s basketball team for Team of the Year Award-female award.