Rower Asiya Sururu who set a new world record on October 7, 2023, on the Concept2 Row ski bike ERG (indoor rowing) of 60 minutes over a distance of 11,243m is among five athletes who are battling to be named the Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) winner in the Sportswoman Living with Disability category.
The annual awards ceremony is scheduled February 23rd.
Sururu who set two world records, will face stiff challenge from Jane Ndenga (wheelchair tennis), Purity Jepkirui Kandie (Special Olympics), Nancy Chelangat (Para athletics) and Ruth Chemurgor (Deaflympics) at the 20th edition of the gala awards.
“The panel of judges has in recent years nominated several individuals and teams – across various categories – who have ventured into new sports disciplines. As a country we are exploring new horizons and excelling in them. We encourage budding sports men and women to cast their nets wide and venture into new sporting activities,” noted the SOYA Panel Chairman, Mr. Chris Mbaisi.
After the world record on October 7, Sururu set another world mark four days after clocking 30 minutes over a distance of 5,610m in the women 30-39 PR1.
The two records have all been verified by the World Rowing Federation.
The month of October was her best as she also qualified for Paris Paralympic Games during the regatta qualifiers in Tunisia where she won the PR1 women’s single sculls (12:44) to become the first Kenyan rower to qualify for two consecutive Paralympic Games.
In addition, Sururu had also won an adaptive rowing event in Oxford city, Royal Regatta apart from becoming the first Kenyan rower to participate in the Rowing World Cup2 in Varese, Italy where she was second in the PR1 single sculls women final B.
Ndenga won the Nairobi Open 11 Futures singles and reached the quarter finals of the first Africa para games in Ghana before she made it to the finals with Phoebe Masika and won Kenya’s only silver medal at the games.
Special Olympics athlete Kandie from Kitale Special school won gold medal in the 50m race during the 2023 Special Olympic games in Berlin, which was an improvement from 2019 where she won silver.
She went a notch higher to take part in the Standing long jump where she won a fourth-place ribbon.
Paralympian Chelangat was once again the pride of the nation during the 2023 World Para- Athletics championship in Paris.
She won gold in the 1500m T11 race in a championship record of 4:46.55 seconds to erase the old mark set by Chinese Zheng Jin in 2015 of 4:47.71 as Mary Waithera won bronze.
Chelangat also won gold in the 2023 Grand Prix in Marrakech in the 1500m T11 race in 4:52.36 ahead of Waithera. She also competed in the 400m T11 race where she bagged bronze with her brother Geoffrey Kiplangat as the guide in all the races.
On her part Chemurgor won the hammer throw during the 2nd Africa Deaf athletics championship in Nairobi with a championship record of 21.73m.
She completed a double in the championships by winning the discus throw with a mark of 20m.