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Faith Kipyegon to battle it out with Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy for BBC African Sports Personality of the Year
- Kipyegon will battle or the award with Eliud Kipchoge, Edouard Mendy and other respected sports personalities in Africa
- The mother of one retained her Olympics title in the 1500m, beating arch-rival Sifan Hassan
- Voting closes on December 29 and the winner will be announced on January 7 2022
The two Kenyans are among six contenders who have been nominated for the prestigious award, with nominees being selected by a panel of journalists from Africa and the UK.
Among the criteria used to select the nominees includes the athlete’s achievements on the international stage between January and September.
Personal achievement beyond their sport is also considered when nominating an athlete.
Namibia’s Christine Mboma, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, and the duo of Long jumper and 200m runner Ntando Mahlangu and Swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker, both from South Africa, were also nominated.
In terms of her achievements this year, it is no wonder Kipyegon earned the nomination.
The mother-of-one successfully defended her 1500m title, having won the first one in 2016.
This was particularly impressive since she took a 21-month break from the sport to focus on motherhood.
The fact that she scooped gold at the Tokyo Games means she became only the third athlete to retain her title after giving birth between games after Australia's Shirley Strickland, in 1956, and Cameroon's Francoise Mbango, in 2008.
She also set a world-leading time of 3:51.07 prior to the Olympics – the fourth-fastest in history.
For Kipchoge, he needs no introduction.
Dubbed by many as the best marathoner of all time, Kipchoge has had another memorable 2021, winning Olympic gold at the men’s marathon for the second successive time.
He is only the third person in history to successfully defend his title and the win in Tokyo meant he has won 13 of the 15 major marathons he has been involved in since transitioning to the long races in 2013.
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Omanyala joins National Police Service
Another Kenyan athlete who sprung to the limelight in 2021 is Ferdinand Omanyala.
The 100m sprinter was recently absorbed by the National Police Service, joining a pool of elite athletes in the police service including the likes of David Rudisha, Joshua Kamworor, Vivian Cheruiyot, and Julius Yego.