Ferdinard Omanyala celebrating his sportsman of the year trophy. PHOTO|COURTSEY

The two-time Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge giving the national and African 100m record holder Ferdinard Omanyala a steer during the SOYA awards at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega had a few words for the young athlete.

The world marathon record holder asked Omanyala to take his career to the highest level affirming him he has everything he needs to make it possible.

“My small piece of advice to him is to treat the sport as a profession. Above all, he should have character, education and support. I believe he already has them and these three things will drive him through to the next 15 years,” he said

He also advised him to respect the game and learn from other accomplished athletes he said as he was receiving his own award for the great consistency and performance his shown in the sport.

“I am really happy to be recognised tonight with this award. It shows that resilience is an important aspect of sports. People like Omanyala have been in the industry for two years while I am 17 years old in the world of athletics. I think he’ll be taking some notes of what we have been doing in the last 17 years,” he added

Eliud Kipchoge in 2019 set a remarkable record of being the first man to run a marathon under two hours setting a time of 1:59:49.

Omanyala celebrated his Best Sportsman of the Year Award after breaking the national and African 100m record last year. The young athlete also became the first Kenyan participate in the Olympic sprint semifinals. He was euphoric expressing what the award meant to him.

“It means a lot to me and makes me very happy. It shows that people appreciate what I have been doing. When journalists came together and decided to give this award to me, it is really motivating,” he said.

Two-time Olympic 1500M champion Faith Kipyegon was ecstatic to receive the Best Sportswoman of the Year award.