Nairobi — Youngster Mary Moraa leads a deep field of athletes shortlisted for the 2017 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) for the Most Promising girl category.
Moraa, who is fondly known as 'Kisii Express', was picked to contest for the honours after winning a rare medal for Kenya in sprints at the 2017 IAAF World U18 Championships held at the Nairobi's Moi International Sports Center Kasarani in July.
The reigning East Africa Secondary Schools champion is remembered for bringing the crowd on its feet after bagging the 400m silver at the World U18 Championships.
Moraa, a student at Mogonga Secondary School in Kisii County, brought the fully packed Kasarani Stadium into a frenzy when she won the silver and also led Team Kenya to the finals of the Mixed Relays after coming from behind to sprint past a South African boy athlete to ensure the hosts booked a spot in the final.
However, she will face stiff competition for the SOYA crown from fellow runners; Jackline Wambui who won gold at the World U18 and Caren Chebet who won gold in the 2000m steeplechase at the same event.
Also in the shortlist are Lawn Tennis wonder-girl Angela Okutoyi whose achievements include being the Zonal U14 champion in both singles and doubles category as well as much improved cricket player Vanessa Adhiambo.
The Most Promising category is a reward given out annually by a panel of the country's top sports journalists to reward exceptional performance by the country's sportsmen and women.
-Sportsman living with disabilities-
In the Sportsman living with disability, athletes Samuel Muchai, Jon Koech and Lucas Wanjiru were nominated for the awards.
Muchai made it to the list after a stellar performance at the 2017 World Paralympics Games where he won two gold medals, among other achievements.
Lucas Wanjiru was also shortlisted for not only winning gold at the 2017 Deaflympic Games held in Samsun, Turkey, but also breaking the 3000 steeplechase Deaflympic world record with a time of 9.04.62.
Exponent Emmanuel Karisa will also rub shoulders with the rest of the nominees for being the only Kenyan to win a medal in the first Africa Paralympic Tae Kwondo Championships held in Rwanda.
-Sportswoman Living with Disability-
In the Sportswoman living with disabilities, Nelly Sile, a javelin thrower headlines the list after attaining a distance of 13.41 to settle for position four in the F55 classification at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships. In her attempts, she recorded 12.62m, 12.69m and 13.13m before she got 13.41m.
She will battle it out with sitting volleyballer Purity Mueni who was the best server during the Africa championship in Rwanda, Deaflympian Beril Wamira who won two silver medals in the Deaflympics games held in Turkey in the 100m where she clocked 12.59 seconds and the 200m where she clocked 26.58 seconds.
The other contestant is Hannah Wakonyo who won a bronze medal in the 5000m women finals during the Deaflympics with a time of 18 minutes 30.90 seconds and finished 10th in the 1500m.
The 2017 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year is scheduled to take place early next year as the best in Kenyan sports are awarded for their splendid performance in the entire season.
List of Most Promising Personality of The Year Girl
Mary Moraa (Athletics)
Angela Okutoyi (Lawn Tennis)
Vanessa Adhiambo (Cricket)
Sportsman Living With Disability
Samuel Muchai (Athletics)
Lucas Wanjiru (Athletics)
Daniel Kiptum (Deaflympics)
Emmanuel Karisa (Tae Kwondo)
Sportswomen Living With Disability
Nelly Sile (Athletics)
Purity Mueni (Sitting Volleyball)
Hannah Wakonyo (Deaflympics)
Beril Wamira (Deaflympics).