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Kiptum was to face Simiu, Wanyonyi and Odongo at postponed SOYA party

The late Kelvin Kiptum is among the top five nominees for the 2023 Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA), which has been postponed to March 1 from February 23 to mourn his demise that happened on Sunday.

Kiptum died in a road accident alongside his coach Gervais Hakizimana in a tragic road accident and has a ratified world record of 2:00:35 set during 2023 Chicago marathon.

It’s this achievement that saw him deservingly earn a nomination for the 2023 Sportsman of the Year.

The death of Kiptum brought to a halt what perhaps could have been another monumental moment for the 24-year-old who was set to participate in the Rotterdam Marathon on April 14.

Before his tragic demise, he had declared his intention to run the marathon in under two hours which would make him the first athlete in history to accomplish such a feat. 

On April 23, last year, Kiptum won the London Marathon in a course record time of 2:01:25, the second fastest time ever in marathon history.

The previous course record of 2:02:37 was set by Kipchoge in 2019.

Kiptum ran the fastest ever marathon debut during the 2022 Valencia Marathon clocking 2:01:53 —the fourth fastest time in marathon history.

The 24-year-old was further awarded the World Athletics Athlete of the Year award in 2023 for his incredible season.

Kiptum has been nominated for Soya awards alongside the 2023 World Half Marathon silver medallist Daniel Simiu.

Simiu stood out during the 10,000m at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on August 20 when he won a silver medal. Simiu also settled for the same position in the half marathon during the World Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia, 

World 800m silver medallist, Emmanuel Wanyonyi, is also in contention for the award.

Wanyonyi, 19, transitioned to the seniors with a solid showing in 2023, helping Kenya to win the mixed relay gold medal at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia.

He then clinched silver in the men’s 800m at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, clocking 1:44.53.

He went on to win his maiden Diamond League Trophy at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene in September in a new PB (1:42.80).

Rugby star Patrick Odongo and Volleyball maestro Simon Kipkorir complete the list.

Kipkorir is the first Kenyan male to win the Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) club title with his Tunisian side, Mouloudia Sportive de Bou Salem.

They beat Egyptian giants Zamalek in the final played in May in a championship, where he was named in the CAVB seven-player dream team and best blocker.

Odongo scored seven tries at the Africa Cup Sevens in Zimbabwe, which helped Kenya book a place at this year’s Paris Olympics. The 21-year-old scored two tries in the final against South Africa as Shujaa stunned favourite South Africa 17-12 in the final to recapture the continental title.

He also scored two tries in the final as Kenya thrashed Samurai Barracudas 19-0 to retain Safari Sevens title.

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