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Sportswoman of 2019: Owala, first bodybuilder shortlisted for the coveted Soya award

Bodybuilder Evelyne Okinyi Owala. She is up against track stars for the coveted Soya award

World marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei, world champion Hellen Obiri and bodybuilder Evelyne Okinyi Owala lead the chase for Sportswoman title in the 2019 Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) awards.

ALSO READ: 10 minutes with Brigid Kosgei

Brigid broke the world record at the Chicago Marathon in October while Obiri started the season with a high, winning the elusive World Cross Country title in Aarhus, Denmark and also helped Kenya to bag silver in the team competition.

The 2016 Olympic silver medallist Obiri closed the season with a gold medal after retaining her 5000m title at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, setting a new Championship Record time of 14:26.72. 

Hellen Obiri reacts after winning the Women’s 5000m final at the 2019 IAAF Athletics World Championships

Owala is the first bodybuilder to be shortlisted for the coveted Soya award and will be up against track stars.

Owala entered the history books after winning the 2019 African championships in the Wellness division in South Africa as well as winning the Arnold Classic in South Africa during the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Championships held in Angola.

She competed as an amateur, also finished third in the 2019 IFBB World Cup amateur competition over and above finishing tenth at the Arnold Classic event in Europe.

Owala has also entered elite pro league where she will compete this year, thus becoming the first Kenyan female to do so and the third in Africa.

Evelyne Owala

Ruth Chepngetich who opened Kenya’s medal account at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha has also made the cut for the award.

Chepngetich headed to the World Championships with a world leading time, a time that Brigid broke when she set the world record at the Chicago Marathon in October.

Chepngetich, 25, ran 2:17:08 while winning the Dubai Marathon last January, her time was the third all-time best behind Paula Radcliffe and Mary Keitany.

Apart from winning Dubai Marathon, Chepngetich also won the Bogota Half Marathon in Colombia in July and Seiryu Half marathon in Japan in April.

Also in contention is Beatrice Chepkoech, 29, who on top of winning her first ever world title in Doha, she reigned supreme on the Diamond League front, clinching the overall title.

The winner of this coveted category will be known during the 2019 Soya gala slated for January 24 in Mombasa.

This year apart from Safaricom as the title sponsor, the gala has also been sponsored by the County Government of Mombasa, Communication Authority of Kenya, National Social Security Fund, DStv, GOtv, UBA Bank among others.

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