IAAF 2015 Men‟s Javelin Champion, 27-year-old Julius Yego is the overall 2015 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year.
Yego who won the 4th furthest throw of 92.72m in Javelin – a first national and African record – is also the sportsman of year while Hyvin Kiyeng is the 2015 sportswoman of the year.
His exemplary performance in 2015 saw him become the first African to wing a Javelin world title at the IAAF World Championships held in Beijing, China. The colorful black tie event graced by celebrity guest, former Cameroonian striker, Patrick M‟boma, saw Nicholas Bett – the first Kenyan sprinter to win a title in the 400m men‟s hurdles – take home the Outstanding Performance award while Ezekiel Kemboi won the Evergreen award, a new category set to recognize sports personalities who have done well over and over again and when you think they are set to retire, they go ahead and do exemplary well.
An elated Yego said he was glad to be part of the Kenyan team that has left an indelible mark in the books of sporting history world as Kenya was crowned the 2015 World Champions.
“I am happy to receive this award as I know it inspires many youth to take up a sport they are passionate in. It doesn‟t have to be in mainstream sports which at times are overcrowded. Testing unchartered waters in a sport as unique and different as Javelin and grow to become an icon, a pace-setter, a hero is rewarding and the honor I have received today, attests to this,” he said.
Hyvin in 2015 landed a first global title by winning the 3000m steeplechase after clocking 9min 19.11sec against all odds at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, giving Kenya one of the seven gold medals won.
“Winning this title is a great honor for me. I started concentrating on steeplechase in 2012 after winning unexpected gold at the 2011 All Africa Games in Maputo. The journey has not been easy but by God‟s grace, through hard work, endurance and determination, I have made it,” she said.
Speaking at the gala, M’boma hailed the organisers for recognizing the effort put in by the sports men and women in their various sporting disciplines. On his part SOYA Founder, Paul Tergat, praised the sports men and women nominated for the awards and urged them to keep pushing to breaking their own record each day.
“When you do your best within the right parameters and with discipline, you implore others to work as hard, to reap the benefits of clean sports. It has to be clean sports as short-cuts will only land you in trouble,” he said.
On his part ,Cabinet Secretary for Sports Culture and the Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario, lauded the sports personalities honored at the event for their great performance and called upon all sports men and women to embrace clean sports.” It is a shame that despite being world champions in 2015, this great achievement is being watered down by those associated with doping; people who are selfishly seeking quick gains at the cost of honest, clean sports men and women. This should stop and stop now,” he stressed.