The national men’s volleyball team middle blocker Simion Kipkorir has been named the LG/SJAK Sports Personality of the Month of May for making history as the first Kenyan player to win the Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) men’s club championship.
The 25-year-old becomes the second volleyball player to receive the award this year, after women’s league MVP Pamela Adhiambo.
LG’s EA Marketing Director Changh-Yun Kim expressed delight in seeing the continuation of the award that recognizes excellence in all sporting disciplines for Kenyan athletes who have repeatedly proven that the country is a talent hub.
“From our branding perspective and our obligations to the community, this award gives us a lot of fulfilment and we see a positive impact in disciplines that have over the years put the country on the world map,” Changh-Yun Kim noted.
The MS Boussalem (MSB) player who was instrumental in guiding his Tunisian side to the title against favourites Zamalek in a five-set thriller was named the continent’s best blocker, another first for a Kenyan in the men’s competition, and made the championship’s dream team.
Kipkorir, a former General Service Unit (GSU) skipper, nicknamed ‘Kosirai’ joined the Tunisian giants on a one-year deal in September last year from Saudi Arabia’s Al Ibtisam where he had been utilized as an opposite hitter.
MSB battled from two sets down to beat Zamalek Volleyball 3-2 (20-25,22-25,26-24,25-23,15-12) to win the title on their debut in the continental competition, their remarkable comeback ending Zamalek’s hopes for a treble this season having earlier won the Egyptian league and cup competitions.
Kosirai had captained GSU since 2019, having joined the Gideon Tarus-coached national champions in 2017 after a three-month stint with the Ulinzi volleyball team. He is part of a squad that has lifted the coveted national title five consecutive seasons.
An alumnus of Malava Boys High and Cheptil Boys with whom he won two national school titles in 2014 and 2016, Kosirai beat other talented athletes to the May award including fellow volleyballer Trizah Atuka who was named the best middle blocker in the women’s version of the African club games as her side Kenya Pipeline settled for silver.
His toughest competitor for the prestigious gong was, however, Harambee Stars skipper Michael Olunga who in the month of May scored five goals, four in their final match against Shamal to help his side Al Duhail clinch the Qatar Star League (QSL) title.
The goals also ensured that the Kenyan striker, who topped the scoring charts last season with 24 goals, bagged the Golden Boot for the second year in a row after finishing the campaign on 22 goals
Speaking during the award ceremony held in Nairobi, SJAK president James Waindi urged all athletes to raise the bar higher as their efforts are appreciated and the Association is always looking out for stellar performances from different sports.
“We are thankful to LG for partnering with us since we started awarding sports personalities. We have come a long way in this journey and it is a pleasure to see them remain one of our key partners for such a noble initiative,” Waindi said.
Others nominated for the May award giving Kosirai stiff competition for the hour are Commonwealth Games champion Mary Moraa for winning the 800m at the Kip Keino Classic and the Rabat Diamond League as well as compatriot Emmanuel Wanyonyi who also triumphed in the two events in the same distance for the men’s category.
Others making the nomination list were Ferdinand Omanyala for his exploits at Kip Keino Classic where he ran a world-leading 9.84 seconds to win the race against a star-studded field.
Newest world record holder Faith Kipyegon got a mention for her exploits in Doha when she opened her season as did Hellen Obiri for defending her Great Manchester Run.
Kenya Prisons’ netballer Delilah Akinyi, Kenya Lionesses Grace Adhiambo, and footballers Esse Akida and Humprey Mieno also made the list of nominees for their exemplary performances in May.