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Odongo, Anyango, Okutoyi and Jepchirchir crowned monthly rewards

Kenyan National Rugby Sevens team (Shujaa) star Patrick Odongo was recognized for his January stardom, as Sirikwa Classic Cross-Country champion Emmaculate Anyango bagged February honors, while trailblazing tennis super star Angela Okutoyi and indefatigable lady marathoner Peres Jepchirchir were named the March and April award winners, respectively.

Speaking during the event, LG’s Marketing Manager, Mr. Changhyun Kim, underscored the essence of celebrating Kenya’s world-beating sports personalities, noting,

 “At LG Electronics, we are committed to the empowerment of the communities in which we operate, and the SPOM Award has over the last decade been a key avenue for us to showcase to upcoming generations the importance of talent recognition.”

 “Our partnership with SJAK dates back to 2015, when we supported the KPL monthly award, before the Sports Personality of the Month Award was inaugurated in 2017. Indeed, over this period, we have seen many of our award winners go on to secure even greater feats.”

SJAK president James Waindi added: “LG has always been a fantastic partner of the sports scribes, and we are very pleased to be extending our long-standing association for another season.”

“Over one decade, LG has demonstrated their support for sports in Kenya. Moreover, together we share an ambition of creating opportunities across all sports and rewarding excellence, by and large. We look forward to further developing our relationship over the coming years.”

January winner, Odongo, was instrumental in Shujaa’s opening leg of the Challenger Series in Dubai by scoring six tries. He scored the two crucial tries in the final match against Chile to see Kenya win the leg 12-5.His impressive performance saw him emerge as the clear winner of the award, ahead of other nominees Pamela Adhiambo of Kenya Pipeline volleyball, and footballers Eric Kapaito and Tito Okello, and hockey star Bethuel Masambu, among others.

In February, Anyango beat a star-studded field to win the Sirikwa Classic Cross Country in Eldoret. This earned her the month’s SPOM mention ahead of rally driver Saman Vohra and junior athlete Gedion Kipngetich. Vohra won the KNRC Eldoret Rally during that month, while Kipngetich was the Africa under 20 Cross Country Championship winner.

March winner, Okutoyi, who broke the long-standing All Africa Games record in Accra, Ghana, became the first athlete to win the SPOM award four times. She beat seven nominees to the award, including Edwin Okong’o, Emily Ngi, Aaron Cheminingwa, Mary Moraa, Brian Komen, Janet Chepngetich, Michael Olunga, and Beatrice Chebet. Okutoyi became the new African Games champion after beating Egyptian opponent Lamis Elhussein Abdelaziz 6-4, 6-2 in a gold medal match at TC Tennis Complex in Accra, Ghana.The win broke Kenya’s 46-year spell without a tennis singles medal, with Okutoyi becoming the second Kenyan player since Jane Davies-Doxzon (1978) to win gold at the prestigious continental showpiece.

Jepchirchir, who won the London Marathon, bagged the April SPOM award ahead of Velma Awuor from the Plateau queens (Chapa Dimba Best Player – Girls) and Armstrong Omondi from Obunga (Chapa Dimba Best Player – Boys). Revered among the greatest female distance runners of all time, she crossed the London tape in two hours, 16 minutes and 16 seconds, breaking the women’s-only record, previously held by Mary Keitany, by 45 seconds.

With the recognition, each winner walked home with personalized trophy and LG Top Freezer Refrigerator retailing at Ksh 73,000.

The SPOM Award has in the past rewarded trailblazing athletes, some of whom have gone the extra mile to break world records, and take their careers to the next level. Among its notable former recipients are world record holder Faith Kipyegon; the late world men’s marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum; basketballers Beatrice Chebet, Victoria Reynolds; reigning African Rally Champion Karan Patel; rally star McRae Kimathi; hardballer, Brenda Ariviza, and two-time Olympic champion, Eliud Kipchoge, as well as Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala, amongst others.

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