NAIROBI, October 5 – Cash prizes for the 2008 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) have been increased by 50 percent.
Both the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year will receive Sh150,000 up from Sh100,000.
The Most promising sportsman, woman and special categories have also received a cash boost with each winner getting Sh75,000 up from last year’s Sh50,000
The first and second runners up at the upcoming will also receive cash prizes for the first time in the awards history.
The winner of the newly introduced Coach of the Year Award will also receive a cash kitty of Sh50,000 in addition to a trophy.
First and second runners in the various categories will each receive Sh75,000 and Sh50,000 respectively.
Betty Tioni, captain of Africa Hockey Club Champions runners up Telkom paid tribute to sponsors Safaricom for supporting the awards and encouraged other corporate bodies to come on board and support Kenyan sports men and women.
The rise in award money is in part to Safaricom who are supporting the fete for the fifth year in a row to the tune of Sh7 million up from Sh5 million for the 2007 event.
The upcoming event will continue its tradition of having an international sports icon grace the occasion which is the brainchild of former marathon record holder Paul Tergat.
Local sports fans can nominate their favourite sports heroes through the event website www.soyaawrds.com or can pick up nomination forms from Riadha House or Kenya national Sports Council offices at Nyayo National Stadium.
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 and who have also qualified for next year’s World Cup in Dubai clinched the Team of the Year award.
World champion Janeth Jepkosgei and multiple All Africa Games medalist 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.
Olympic 800 metres gold medalist 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 and tactician Francis Kimanzi are favourites to receive Team of the Year and Coach of the Year awards respectively.