It was a sedate setting for the Athletics Kenya 2012 Golden gala awards albeit the singing and Masai Moran jig dances, that evoked a warm and celebratory feel on an unusually chilly November evening in Nairobi.
Amid the colourful performance it was easy to pick out the tall lanky figure of David Rudisha looking sharp in a black suit, beaming with pride celebrating yet another important chapter in his illustrious career.
He effortlessly morphed into a stylish Moran as he jumped and performed the landmark cultural jig on stage bearing a rungu, befitting the finest of the Kenyan track and field athletes.
Rudisha was on Friday honoured for his exceptional 800m 1:40.91 world record run at the Olympics that earned him the gold, one of only two that team Kenya won in London.
His dominance in the two-lap race also earned him the middle distance honours.
“Ukiona vyaelea ujue vimeundwa,"(If you see vessels afloat, remember that they have been built) he stated proudly in reference to his exemplary performance and of his compatriots who were rewarded for winning medals in various international championships at the third edition of the Athletics Kenya, AK organised gala.
“To be named the overall winner today barely a week after I was recognised by the IAAF for the performance of the year is a big honour,” Rudisha continued.
“As the captain of the Kenya team to London I can proudly say the team did very well winning 11 medals. There were countries with bigger contingents that didn’t win a medal. We did well…. All we need is the support of the Federation and the government.”
Steeplechaser Ezekiel Kemboi was the other gold winner at the Olympics.
Another big winner of the evening was 2008 Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo who picked the comeback and middle distance female awards besides being recognised for winning one of Kenya’s two gold at the world indoor championships.
Kirui, Jeptoo win marathon awards
Jelimo defied the odds and an injury dogged past three years to win the gold in Istanbul and even make the Olympics final.
Abel Kirui and Priscah Jeptoo, the silver medallists from Olympics picked the marathon awards while Mercy Chebwogen, the 3000m World junior champion and Timothy Kitum, the African 800m and Olympic bronze medallist were the seasons most promising youngsters.
Paul Kipsiele Koech’s noble mission dubbed ‘running for education’ where he pays school fees for needy talented runners earned him the newly introduced Corporate Social Responsibility honours.
Gold medallists from the London Olympics games, the World junior championships, World indoor, African cross country and the continental championships were all recognised for their efforts on an evening duly graced by the country’s Chief legal advisor to the Government, Githu Muigai.
The athletes’ mega earnings have recently been the focus of attention following the announcement by the Kenya Revenue Authority to initiate plans to tax the runners.
“I hope that we can function a tax structure that is not punitive and works in favour of athletes,” said Muigai.
Athlete of the Year 2012
World record award
Most promising award
Corporate Social responsibility
Paul Kipsiele Koech
Coach of the Year
Julius Kirwa(Long service)
Middle distance award
Walking race award
Combined Events award
Field events award
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