In a year that has been so heart wrenching for the entire world, a few people have managed to keep a smile beaming up on our faces especially here in the Pearl of Africa.
When curfews were enforced earlier this year, most activities came to a standstill and various fields got affected including the sports field. However, our sportsmen and women have turned out to be the joy pill that we all needed in these tough times.
Despite the lack of proper facilities and equipment, these men and women have gone ahead to beat the odds stacked against them to even breaking long standing global records.
Without much further ado, let’s take a look at the most outstanding sports personalities of this pandemic-‘ed’ year 2020.
1. Joshua Cheptegei
What a man! What a year! Almost every country would have loved to have the flamboyant Cheptegei raising their flag on one of the cold nights out there in Europe standing on the podium of winners and above all with a golden medal.
This humble police officer has smashed record after record ever since he set out into athletics. Joshua is the 10th man in world history to ever concurrently hold the 5000 and 10,000 metres records.
He first broke the 5000m record last year in Monaco in the IAAF diamond league. By doing this, he set a record of 12:51 breaking the 20 year old record set in 2000 by Kenya’s Sammy Kipketer.
Later on this year in August, he broke another long standing record of Ethiopian great, Kenesia Bekele’s 16 year old record in Valencia by six seconds. He also holds the 5km and 15km records besides being the world cross champion a feat he achieved in 2019.
Cheptegei was a few days back nominated for the award of best male athlete of the year and we hope he can continue making us proud and bring that one home too as he’s always done.
2. Jacob Kiplimo
Another athlete making the the list is no surprise as they have quite done well this year. They have almost swept all the championships that they have participated in this year.
The 20 year old Kiplimo is a long distance runner that competes in track running. He first came into the limelight when he represented Uganda in the 2016 Rio Olympic games that took place in Brazil.
He is the current champion of the world half marathon championship having attained a gold medal in the event that was held in Gydnia in Poland in October this year.
As his fellow countryman, Kiplimo has also been nominated for the male world athlete of the year award and whoever brings it home between the two men, we shall surely be proud of them both because they are true champions.
3. Denis Masinde Onyango
The Uganda cranes Captain and the word success are a common phenomenon or even twins. His professional career has always been an inspirational story amongst many youths pursuing their footballing dreams that anything is possible if you are determined and surely put in the hard work.
The Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper has competed against some of the world’s ever best players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema amongst others. He’s arguably been Uganda’s best player by a mile for a couple of years now and his hardwork was rewarded when he was named the best player based in Africa in 2016.
This year hasn’t been bad either for the former SC Villa goalkeeper as his South African based club Sundowns won they ABSA championship which is the league title in the south African main football league besides finishing the CAF champions league group stage phase unbeaten, the first by a South African side.
4. Winnie Nanyondo/ Halima Nakayi
They may not have won any medals this year, but these ladies surely deserve a round of applause for continuing to raise the Ugandan flag high out there.
After the retirement of Dorcus Inzikuru, these two have emerged to become the face of Ugandan female athletics and a motivation to many young girls out there that fancy joining the track.
Halima Nakayi won gold in the 800m category last year in Doha, Qatar and went ahead to win bronze in the same distance in a different competition in Rabat, Morocco. She finished 5th in the diamond league in Monaco in August setting a national record that she recently held herself.
Winnie Nanyondo on the other hand finished in 8th position in the same category registering her best ever time.