World U20 10000m walking race champion Heristone Wanyonyi won the Most Promising boy Athlete award during the 18th edition of the Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) that was held on Tuesday night (25) at the Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega County.
Wanyonyi broke the record by becoming the first Kenyan to win gold in a walking racing international.
The 18 years-old defeated junior golfer from Muthaiga Taimur Malik, Chipu captain Andrew Matoka in rugby fellow world under 20 800m champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi and world under 20 1,500m champion Vincent Keter.
Wanyonyi completed his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) at Ortum Boys and he is the two time Kenya Secondary schools Sports Association (KSSSA) 10,000m Race Walk champion.
World U20 1,500m champion Vincent Kibet Keter has been described as a go-getter in his career, who doesn’t like comfort zones.
The newly crowned Kip Keino Classic has been described by his Rongai Athletics Club (RAC) coach Bernard Ouma as a career progression to fit in the shoes of great athletes in the country and abroad.
“I cannot say that he is a unique athlete but he is a hard-working athlete who wants to make change at any point in his career. Keter is a go-getter and never is his comfort zone, that is how I can describe his personality,” said Ouma.
He added that the reigning Africa under 18 1,500m champion just like any other athlete who wants to succeed in life, Keter will have a great succession plan while making it to the senior cadre after a successful career in his junior level.
“As a club, we want to make sure his succession plan is good while graduating into senior levels. Many athletes fail to go past under 20 where about 50% manage to pass the mark. But here, we try to do our best to secure his good plans,” added Ouma.
He cited reigning Olympic Games 1,500m silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot, former world under 20 1,500m champion
George Meitamei Manangoi who have had a good transition.
“We want athletes to climb the ladder slowly. In the future, you will see Cheruiyot running 5,000m in a marathon. We take care of our athletes’ future that is why we enter few races across the world. We have to ensure that the welfare of athletes is on top,” he said.
Keter won the 1,500m title by defending the national title last won by compatriot Manangoi in Tampere in 2018 when he clocked 3.34.27 as Ethiopian Wegene Addisu took second place in 3:37.86 ahead of compatriot Melkeneh Azize who closed the first three podium finishes in 3:40.22 after benefiting from the Kamra Etiang who was disqualified after stepping out of the lane.
Back to the world under 20 championships, Ouma said that as a club and athletes, they always have a running plan depending on the championships style, describing it as a good progression.
“We always have running plans. We go to the race with a tactical target. We don’t just enter the race anyhow. But Keter, just like any athlete, has challenges in life,” said Ouma.