Kenya has crowned Vivian Cheruiyot as its Sports Personality of the Year after she won one gold medal at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Spain and two more at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in South Korea.
At an awards ceremony in Nairobi, a trophy was presented to Cheruiyot that seemed almost as big as the 28-year-old Kenyan star, who has been nicknamed “Pocket Rocket” for her small size but powerful running talent.
In March, Vivian broke away on the final lap to win the gold medal in the senior women’s race at the World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria, Spain. Later in the year, Cheruiyot swept the gold medals at 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters at the World Athletics Championships in
Daegu, South Korea.
She matched the achievement of Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba, the reigning Olympic champion at the two distances, winning both events at the same world championships.
The spotlight will surely be on Vivian Cheruiyot at the 2012 Olympics in London, where she may very well try to duplicate Tirunesh’s double Olympic gold performance at Beijing 2008.
At the same awards gala in Nairobi, Patrick Makau was named Kenya’s Sportsman of the Year for his world record performance at the Berlin Marathon in September. Makau clocked 2:03:38, breaking the previous mark of Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie by 21 seconds.