NAIROBI, July 28 – The government has upped its award scheme for sportsmen and women who do the country proud in international sporting assignments.
Gold medalists in the forthcoming Beijing Olympic Games in China shall earn Sh750,000 up from Sh500,000 while Silver and Bonze medalists shall earn Sh500,000 and Sh250,000 respectively up from Sh300,000 and Sh100,000.
President Mwai Kibaki made the announcement at State House on Monday when he handed over the national flag to Kenya’s Olympic team to the 29th edition of the games in Beijing.
The Head of State also revealed that plans were underway to establish an International Sports Academy under the Vision 2030 in order to prepare athletes to cope with the ever-increasing demand for excellence and offer specialized training for the local athletes.
Other measures unveiled to promote sports include establishment of a National Sports Lottery to generate funds to drive various sports programmes in all parts of the country an initiative the President directed the concerned ministry to give top priority.
The government has also directed the ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to ensure that the recently allocated Sh210 million for constituency sports development was efficiently utilized to tap and nurture more talent.
President Kibaki observed, “The purpose of investing in such projects is to enable the Government provide a suitable environment for our young and talented sportsmen and women to train in order to sharpen their skills so as to become internationally competitive.”
Commending the team members for their efforts to earn a slot in the hotly contested national qualifying events, President Kibaki urged the team to remain focused during the entire competition period in order to translate their hard and rigorous training into a harvest of medals.
“The Olympic Games have evolved into one of the most highly recognized sports event globally. As you travel to Beijing to compete in the games, I urge you to bear in mind that you are participating at the very top of sports achievement,” noted the President.
He emphasized the role of sports in the modern society adding it was the key reason for the Government to initiate bold steps to strengthen the sports industry by steadily increasing funding and expanding investments in sports facilities.
President Kibaki noted that Kenya’s unrivalled achievements in sports are as a result of the dedication of sports persons and the technical staff who have defied many challenges.
The President noted, “Among the athletes gathered here today, there are those who are ready to take over from the older generation and continue to raise the flag of our nation high. This succession is what has made Kenya a consistent high-flyer in sports.”
Kenya will be participating in five disciplines during the Beijing Olympics namely Athletics, Boxing, Tae Kwon-Do, Rowing and Swimming.