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Kenya to develop new sports policy

NAIROBI, KENYA, Jan 24 – The Government plans to formulate a new sports policy and establish a national lottery to support the development of sporting activities in the country.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said the government recognises the vital role played by sporting activities and will continue to provide an appropriate environment to enable the country realise the dreams of the nation.

"We have already demonstrated our commitment by allocating Sh1 million to every constituency to promote various sporting disciplines and also develop youth talent at the grassroots level," Mr Musyoka said at the fifth Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) on Friday night.

He pointed out that the Beijing Olympics was the major highlight in which the Kenyan national team did the country proud by winning a record number of medals that included five gold, five silver and four bronze.

"During the Beijing Olympics, Kenyans irrespective of ethnic or political affiliation thronged local stadia to cheer their favourite teams and remained glued on television sets to cheer their award winning sportsmen and women as they participated in international games," he added.

The Vice President also commended the organisers and sponsors of SOYA for recognising the efforts and achievements of Kenyan sportsmen and women.

"This event aptly captures the country’s aspiration for the development of sports. Indeed time has come when we as a country must deliberately scout for talent, nurture it, and eventually reward those who excel," said Mr Musyoka.

Eight hundred metres Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo scooped the best sports woman award of the year award while Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru took home the best sportsman award.

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"I’m very happy to receive this award. I didn’t think I would win it but by the grace of God, I’ve been able too," said Jelimo who also clinched the 2008 IAAF Revelation of the Year Award.

"I’m very proud and looking forward to continuing my good form in the upcoming season," she added.

Mr Wanjiru – who holds the half marathon world record – was equally delighted to receive his award and has set his sights on more achievements this year.

"This year I’m going for nothing short than victory in the London marathon and also keen on breaking the world full marathon record," said Ms Wanjiru who won the Most Promising Sportsman of the Year Award at the same fete in 2005.

Mr Musyoka assured the gathering that the government was committed to supporting sporting activities as a way of uniting Kenyans who have been divided on ethnic and political grounds after the last general election.

Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Professor Hellen Sambili said the Government would continue to partner with sports stakeholders in promoting the development of sports in the country.

Present were former Vice President Moody Awori, Information and Communication Minister Samuel Poghisio, Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph, Kipkelion Member of Parliament Langat Magerer, members of the diplomatic corps, and senior sports officials among other dignitaries.

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