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Athletics Gala to cost Sh9.3m

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NAIROBI, Kenya, November 1- The second Athletics Kenya (AK) Golden Gala will cost $93,000 (Sh9.3m) with $75,000 (Sh7.5m) going towards cash token and trophies for honoraries.

On Tuesday at function where National Bank of Kenya (NBK) presented their $20,000 (Sh2m) title-sponsorship for the December 2 fete re-launched last year.

Organising committee chairman, Joseph Kinyua, proclaimed six new categories had been added to the list of recipients who will be honoured at the Gala.

“We decided we need to be innovative. This year, we have a new category which we are calling Selfless Team Effort meant for athletes who do a lot of work so that together, they can achieve.

“Finally, they do not end in the medal bracket but we want to reward them for their effort and we have five we have identified from the seven competitions we are looking at.”

Another new award group, Self Determination has also been added to the roster.

“For instance Janeth Jepkosgei, the way she fought the whole way to bring the bronze medal in the women 800m with athletes like Caster Semenya and Kenia Sinclair.

“Another example is Alfred Kirwa Yego who lost his mother while in camp in Kasarani. He went back home and buried the mother and returned to the team and went all the way to the final and although he did not get the gold medal but there is evidence of a lot of effort in his part,” he added.

The Best Transition award from junior running to senior ranks in the calendar year that will see three honoraries and another for retired athletes that have made the switch from competing to take up management where eight will be cited have also been introduced.

Reigning world junior women 3000m champion, Mercy Cherono, who was fourth at the Daegu Worlds in her first year as a senior is fronting this division.

The Gala will witness the presentation of awards to the Best Employee at AK headquarters and Team Physiotherapists who have accompanied Kenyan squads to international competition.

The three world record holders of 2011, Mary Keitany (women half marathon), Moses Mosop (men 30,000m) and Patrick Makau (men marathon) will be among the recipients of the awards.

In total, 38 gold medallists in seven competitions namely, Africa and World Cross Country Championships (March), Africa Junior Championships (May), World Youth Championships (July), World Championships in Athletics (August), All Africa Games (September) and Commonwealth Youth Games (September) will get gongs.

The yet to be established World Marathon Majors winner in addition to Team Managers, Coaches, Heads of Delegations, Sponsors and members of the press who have covered the sport extensively will also be recognised.

Living legends of the sport such as the 1999 World Cross short course winner, Jackline Malanga and nominees for the IAAF World Athlete of the Year are also among the expansive list.

“We have continued to increase our sponsorship for athletics since the results keep improving every year and NBK might find it hard to match the achievement and that is why we are inviting co-sponsors to join the efforts.

“What we provide may not be enough to compensate for the efforts our athletes are putting,” NBK managing director, Reuben Marambii, said.

AK chair, Isaiah Kiplagat added, “Kenyans are being mentioned everyday for their winning and next year, there is an Olympics and athletes from elsewhere are training here. We have 500 foreigners training in the Rift Valley and our training programme will begin this week.”

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