Kenya tennis sensational Angela Okutoyi has been named Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) January winner while rally driver youngster MacRae Kimathi was feted as February finest.
Okutoyi scooped the award after beating three other nominees in Daniel Simiyu, who won the Valencia 10k, Shujaa’s Vincent Onyala and middle-distance runner Norah Jeruto.
“January was such a good month for Kenyan Tennis and myself after I won a match at the Australian Grand Slam. We have come from far and I am proud to have lifted the Kenyan flag on high,” said Okutoyi through a recorded video from Morocco.
Okutoyi, 18, became the first Kenyan girl to win a match in the Australian Junior Open Championship and the first to go past the second round at a Grand Slam tournament.
On the other hand, Junior WRC star Kimathi won the February award after becoming the first Kenyan to finish a rally on snow on WRC Sweden.
He finished the WRC3 category in a credible third and fourth in Junior WRC.
“The award goes a long way in motivating young and upcoming sports personalities realise their potential in sport. It also fuels one’s passion to give more to the sport,” said MacRae, who was flanked by his dad Phineas, a retired Rally driver.
“I now feel motivated ahead of my busy calendar starting with Croatia Rally where I will compete in the Junior WRC, Pearl of Uganda, ARC Equator Rally and round up with the WRC Safari Rally.”
Kimathi beat Ferdinand Omanyala, who broke the men’s 60m dash national record, Milton Ilakhuya who was the top points scorer for Kenya at the wheelchair basketball World Cup qualifiers where they won the Africa bronze.
Another nominee was Lavender Zawadi who was Kenya’s best performer at the Catchball World Championship qualifiers in Israel where Kenya qualified for Portugal in June.
Hellen Obiri was also a nominee for the month of February for finishing second in the RAK Half Marathon in a fifth fastest time of 64:22 and Collins Kipruto for his 1500m win at Muller and 800m at the Meeting de l’Eure in Val-de-Reuil in France.
For being crowned January and February winners, Okutoyi received an Artificially Intelligent washing machine while Kimathi was awarded with a refrigerator.
So far, the SPOM has awarded 12 athletes including world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, basketballer Tylor Onwae Okari, Olympics marathon champions Peres Jepchirchir and Hit Squad boxer Elly Ajowi.