NAIROBI, Kenya, July 23 – The 2009 Sportsman of the Year Awards have been launched with mobile phone service provider Safaricom again sponsoring the glamorous event to the tune of Sh7 million.And in a new development, the 2009 edition will be held in December this year as opposed to previous tradition where it was held the following year.
Speaking at the launch on Thursday, the awards founder Paul Tergat said the awards had grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years.
“The SOYA awards are now part of our sporting calendar because every sports person would love to be crowned as the sportsman or woman of the year after putting in a lot of effort during the year. I am very delighted that what begun six years ago as a small event has grown into a major national ceremony that gives deserving recognition to the people who unite us the most as Kenyans through sports,” said Tergat.
He also thanked Safaricom for its continued support of the awards.
“One of the outstanding and consistent things about SOYA so far has been the support from Safaricom. This company has been SOYA’s title sponsor since inception and has kept that faith in the event each year thereafter. I am incredibly indebted them for believing in us to execute our vision of taking sports to new levels in this country through an awards scheme,” he added.
Panel chairman Bismarck Mutahi also revealed that a schools category will be introduced in this year’s edition.
“In recognition of the growth and improvement of the schools competition, this year we are going to have a category dedicated to schools in recognition of their achievements,” he said.
The competition is in its sixth edition with Pamela Jelimo and Samuel Wanjiru emerging tops last year.