It’s all systems go for the 19th edition of Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) gala which will be held on 20th of this month at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) .

The gala is making a return to the city after being held in Mombasa,Nakuru and Kakamega counties in the past three editions.

According to the head of the SOYA awards secretariat Kaplich Barsito selection of winners in all categories is almost done, despite stiff competition following a successful year for sports men and women last year in all disciplines.

“The nominations process has been tough in all categories following good performance by most athletes. We pride in innovation and integrity since the inception of the awards for the past 20 years “said Kaplich “This year’s award is unique in that it will be the 1st gala post Covid 19 and am grateful for the panel who have been giving us the best of the best, since every sports man and woman of the year awarded has gone on to win major championships or break record” added Kaplich.

This time, SOYA Awards has 16 categories including a return of the schools’ categories, which missed during last gala, following postponement of school games due to COVID-19.

The 2022 SOYA awards which are sponsored by Communications Authority, NSSF, Safaricom, Lotto Foundation and Kenya Pipeline promises to be a tough fight for the top prize going by the list of nominees that have been shortlisted for the Sportswoman of the year category.

This year’s gala is being held under the theme ‘my integrity my sport my pride’ resonating with the anti doping war.

Among the athletes who will battle it out for the woman athlete of the year award include Boston Marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir ,3,000 meters steeplechase Commonwealth Games champion Jackline Chepkoech ,Chicago Marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich and two times world champion in 1,500 meters Faith Kipyrogon.

The men award will be a tough battle between reigning marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge and 100 meters commonwealth and African champion Ferdinand Omanyala among others.

The award was founded by the 5 times cross country champion and the current national Olympic committee of Kenya -NOC-K president Dr Paul Tergat, 20 years ago and rewards best performers in both local and international championships annually.

By Fred Odanga Azelwa.