Home Sports Athletics Beatrice Chebet named SJAK Sports Personality of the Month of May

Beatrice Chebet named SJAK Sports Personality of the Month of May

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Record-breaking Beatrice Chebet has been named the LG/SJAK Sports Personality of the Month (SPOM) for May 2024 following her brilliant display at the Prefontaine Classic, a popular track and field event held every year in Oregon, USA.

This was the 49th edition of the meet and the fifth leg of the 2024 Diamond League – the highest-level international track and field circuit.

With an insatiable appetite for success, the Iten-based Chebet made history as the first ever woman to run the 10,000-meter distance in under 29 minutes as she clocked 28:54.14.

Her nomination as the May SPOM also entered her name in the annals of the award’s history as one of the few athletes to win the title three times.

“This award allows us as LG Electronics to strengthen sports cohesion among our sports champions and communities across diverse disciplines. Our commitment is to ensure that the desire, dream and vision of our sports personalities do not wither. For us, it is very important to recognize exceptional talent, and Chebet is certainly deserving of the May award,” LG’s Managing Director for East Africa, Dongwon Lee, said.

Chebet beat 12 other strong candidates for the award, including reigning FIA African Rally Champion and current series leader Karan Patel; Gor Mahia striker Benson Omalla; Harambee Starlets player Rebecca Okwaro and E-Sports star Bilal Mohamed, amongst others.

Bilal became the first Esports player to be nominated for the monthly award, after winning the African Championship by defeating Nigeria’s Chukwudi Okoli 3-2 in the Street Fighter 6 final held in Lagos, Nigeria.

Also competing with Chebet were runners Daniel Mateiko and Brian Komen; footballers John Mark Makwata and Austin Odhiambo; amateur golfer Michael Karanga; esport Antony Nyamanya; Taekwondo master Patrick Thimangu; and Amos Obae, who was recently named the Rugby Super Series player of the tournament.

Others were Triza Atuka and Deborah Jesang, who were recognized as the best blocker and outside hitter, respectively, and later drafted into the African Dream Team during the 2024 Confederation of African Women’s Volleyball Clubs Championship in Egypt.

SJAK President James Waindi congratulated all the nominees, while urging Chebet to lead Kenya’s medal hunt at the upcoming Paris Olympic Games.

For Chebet, it was an impressive feat at Oregon as she smashed the existing world record of 29:01.03 set by Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey in 2021.

She also shattered Kenya’s national record of 29:32.53, established by Vivian Cheruiyot during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Despite her historic achievement, Chebet revealed that setting a world record was not her initial intent. “I did not plan for it,” she explained, crediting her rival, Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, for setting the pace for her. “Gudaf wanted a world record, so I thought I’d go along and see how my body felt. It responded well, so I pushed ahead.”

After the race, Chebet and Tsegay, who are friendly competitors, shared a warm embrace.

“She congratulated me, telling me, ‘You are the best, you are strong,'” she recounted.

The Oregon event also served as the Athletics Kenya qualifiers for the 10,000m for the  upcoming Paris Summer Games, and with her victory, Chebet not only secured her spot on the Kenyan team, but also demonstrated her formidable talent in her first 10,000-meter race since 2020.

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