Long-distance star Joshua Cheptegei is rising fast to become a global icon. With an anticipated 10000m gold medal at Tokyo Olympics in July, Cheptegei will seal the legendary status as the country's greatest athlete ever.
He can however grab another big slice of history tonight if he beats the six-man shortlist to be crowned as the Sportsman of the Year at the virtual Laureus Awards in Seville, Spain tonight.
"It fills me with pride that my performances are being appreciated, not just within athletics but within the wider sports world," he said in a recent nominees' interview.
The 24-year-old became the only third African to be nominated after Moroccan middle-distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj in 2005 and Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge in 2019 and 2020 for this award following a stellar 2020 where he broke three world records (WRs) including that of the 5km.
Haul of world records
He also obliterated the 5000m and 10000m WRs which had belonged to Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele for 16 and 15 years respectively and, he became the tenth man in history to jointly hold them.
Cheptegei, who also holds the World Cross-Country title, world 10000m gold, the Commonwealth double and the 15km WR, also scooped a team bronze medal from his 21km debut at the World Half-Marathon Championships last year.
But, Cheptegei who bids to become the first African man to win this honour, is up against heavyweight nominees including; pole vault WR holder Swede Armand Duplantis who beat him to the World Athlete of the Year Award last December.