Negesa pips Kipsiro to 2011 Athlete of the Year award

Negesa won the women’s National Cross-country title on Saturday. Photo by Ismail Kezaala

Annet Negesa was on Saturday crowned the 2011 Athlete of the Year by Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF). The 20-year-old middle distance runner beat four-time athlete of the year Moses Kipsiro, steeplechaser Jacob Araptany and marathoners Stephen Kiprotich and Jane Suuto to the accolade.

“This is a great honour to me,” Negesa said after receiving her award, Shs3.6m and a home theatre system, at Serena Hotel. “I thank my parents for supporting me.”
Negesa’s displays in 2011 were simply unmatched. She won 800m gold at the All Africa Games in Maputo plus a double (800m and 1500m gold) at the Africa Junior Championships in Gaborone, Botwana.

The UAF award comes as a big consolation for Negesa after she was beaten to the 2011 Nile Special-Uspa Sports Personality of the Year award by rally ace Susan Muwonge last month. Kipsiro, who won the UAF award in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 was consipiciously missing at the awards ceremony and was only good for second on the night.

Halima Nakayi was named upcoming female athlete of the year while Zakaria Kiprotich won in the men’s category. The awards ceremony preceded the National Cross-country Championships in Jinja which saw Negesa win the senior women’s 8km title for the second straight year.

She clocked 26 minutes, 22.4 seconds to edge Viola Chemos (26:28) to the tape. UPDF’s Rebecca Cheptengei was third in 27:07.7. With Kipsiro missing in action, his Elgon teammate Thomas Ayeikho seized the opportunity to win the senior men’s 12km gold in 33:55 minutes.

Abraham Kiplimo (Standard) was second in 34:21 and Police’s Timothy Torotich third in 34:22. UAF publicity secretary Namayo Mawerere had said in a press release before the event that Kipsiro, the four-time champion, would defend his title. Mawerere, however, offered no explanation as to why the Commonwealth double gold medallist missed.

Nancy Cheptengei from Standard, meanwhile, lifted the junior women’s 6km gold after beating Alfa’s Stella Chesang (19:36.5).

Cheptengei was timed at 19:23.4 while Patrick Chepkwemoi of Alfa finished third in 20:05.5 minutes.

Police’s Alex Cherop won the tightly contested junior men’s 8km.

x-country results
Nancy Cheptengei (Standard) 19:23.4
Stella Chesang (Alfa) 19:36.5
Patrick Chepkwemoi (Alfa) 20:05.5
Alex Cherop (Police) 22:40.0
Nathan Ayeikho (Alfa) 22:41.0
Abdallah Mande (Police) 22:41.6
Annet Negesa (Standard) 26:22.4
Viola Chemos (Arua) 26:28.0
Rebecca Cheptegei (UPDF) 27:07.7
Thomas Ayeikho (Elgon) 33:55.0
Abraham Kiplimo (Standard) 34:21.0
Timothy Toroitich (Elgon) 34:22.6