NAIROBI, October 8 – Coaches will receive recognition at next year’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) with the introduction of the ‘Coach of the Year’ category.,
Speaking at the launch of this year’s awards on Tuesday, SOYA founder Paul Tergat said that plans are underway to make the fifth edition of event a most unforgettable event befitting the impressive performances by Kenyan sportsmen and women on the global stage despite the political upheaval earlier in the year.
“Our pride as a nation and togetherness was not only restored but was also elevated to levels beyond our imagination,” said Tergat.
“Being the fifth anniversary, we are organizing the most memorable gala for our sports heroes and heroines as well as our distinguished guests and sponsors,” he added.
Tergat also pointed out how SOYA has been influential in cajoling other stakeholders, the government in particular in recognizing and motivating sports people for their role in national development and cohesion.
“I note with great joy and pride the huge strides that have been made in the last few years to appreciate our sportsmen and women as they continue their tradition of being the best ambassadors of the country through their sporting achievements,” he added.
Safaricom who have sponsored the awards since its inception are sponsoring the 2008 ceremony to the tune of Sh7 million, two million more than they put in last year.
“We are proud to be the main sponsor of this award for the fifth year running because we believe the recognition of our sportsmen and sportswomen plays a significant role in boosting their morale and thus driving them to greater achievements,” said Joseph.
The public will be able to nominate their favourite sports hero through Short Message Service (SMS).
Eight hundred metres gold medallist and IAAF jackpot winner Pamela Jelimo is a strong favourite to clinch Sports Woman of the Year award while Harambee Stars who are through to the next round of the 2010 World Cup/Africa Cup are in the running for the Team of the Year.
Eight hundred metres World champion Janeth Jepkosgei and multiple All Africa Games swimming champion Jason Dunford won the 2007 Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year respectively.
The national sevens team who finished seventh in the 2007/2008 International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens series clinched the Team of the Year award.
World champion Janeth Jepkosgei and multiple All Africa Games medallist Jason Dunford were voted Sportswoman and Sportsman respectively following their exploits in 2007.
Jepkosgei won the award after winning the 800m final at the Athletics World Championships in Osaka while Dunford was recognized for winning eight medals at the games in Algiers.