Kenyan Sportsmen Who Attracted Global Attention In 2021

World Olympics logo outside a stadium in Japan
World Olympics logo outside a stadium in Japan.

2021 was another prosperous year for Kenya in the world of sports. This was made more fascinating by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that offered Kenyan athletes a platform to shine. 

The Tokyo Olympics was a hub for the success of most seasoned athletics and other new entrants, who made the Kenyan flag dominant over all other African countries. 

The event, which was postponed in 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19, gave sports personalities a lifetime opportunity to raise the Kenyan flag higher. Some of the participants who earned global recognition include;

Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge wins the Ineos Challenge on Saturday, October 12, 2019, in Vienna, Austria

Kipchoge is arguably one of the greatest marathoners in the world. Kipchoge won gold at the men’s Tokyo Olympics Marathon in August 2021, becoming the third athlete to retain the Marathon gold medal in history. 

He joined Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila (1960 and 1964) and East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski (1976 and 1980) as the only runners to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals. 

Kipchoge covered the 42.195km in 2hr 8min 38sec in Sapporo Japan. The victory was his 13th win in the 15 marathons he has raced since 2013. 

In 2021, Kipchoge also won the NN Mission Marathon at Enschede Airport Twente, Netherlands.

He was named the best male athlete of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Awards 2021 in October 2021. 

The athlete is both the official and unofficial men’s marathon record holder in both official and unofficial times. His official world record was set in the 2018 Berlin Marathon, which stands at 2hr 1min and 39sec. 

He is also the first human to run a marathon in under two hours, clocking 1hr 59min 40sec in Vienna, Austria in 2019. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta conferred the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya to Olympics champion Eliud Kipchoge in 2019. 

Faith Kipyegon

Tow-time Olympics winner Faith Kipyegon
Tow-time Olympics winner Faith Kipyegon

Despite facing stiff competition from Dutch star, Sifan Hassan, Kipyegon won the 1500 metres at the Tokyo Olympics games. 

Kipyegon clocked a record 3:53.11 in Tokyo in August 2021. 

In July 2021, she once again beat her perennial rival Sifan Hassan to win the 2021 Diamond League. Kipyegon ran past Hassan in the final 100m stretch to seal victory with a time of 3:58.33.

Peres Jepchirchir

Peres Jepchirchir celebrates after breaking her own world record in the women's half marathon to win gold at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland in October 2020

Peres is the current Marathon Olympics titleholder after winning the race at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at 2 hr 27min 20sec. She emerged top after beating world record holder Brigid Kosgei who came second in August 2021. 

In the same year, she won the New York City Marathon.

On December 12, President Uhuru Kenyatta conferred the Order of Great Warrior (OGW) to Faith Kipyegon for winning gold medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Ferdinand Omanyala

Ferdinand Omanyala competes in 100m heat during the second leg of Athletics Kenya (AK) Relay
Ferdinand Omanyala competes in 100m heat during the second leg of Athletics Kenya (AK) Relay

The 100-meter runner set a new national and continental (Africa) record during the Kipchoge Keino world continental tour held at the Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani in September 2021. 

Omanyala clocked 9.77seconds, breaking Kenya's 100m National record for the 5th time. He won the race at Kasarani and broke the 9.84 seconds record set by South Africa's Akani Simbine in July 2021. 

He first hit the headlines when he qualified for the Olympics Semifinals in Tokyo, setting a personal best and Kenya's record of 10.00 seconds. 

Michael Olunga

File image of Michael Olunga in action for Kashiwa Reysol
File image of Michael Olunga in action for Kashiwa Reysol

Olunga is a Kenyan football star plying his trade for Al-Duhail in the Qatar Stars League. In 2021, he scored over 12 goals, recording an impressive 1.85 per 90-minute goal-scoring ratio. 

He is also the Harambee Stars captain.