Sportmen and women feted

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NAIROBI, Kenya, October 2 – President Mwai Kibaki on Friday rewarded sportsmen and women who produced stellar performances throughout year with Sh10.4 million .PRESIDENT KIBAKIGold medalists received between Kshs 300,000 and 250,000 while silver medalists obtained between Kshs 200,000 and Kshs 75,000 while bronze medalists took home between Kshs 75,000 and Kshs 50,000 for the international events.

President Mwai Kibaki also disclosed that the Government has allocated Sh100 million for the construction of an international sports academy in the country to equip Kenyan athletes with modern skills to enable them compete well in global championships.

“While our sportsmen and women have so far competed successfully I am however aware that if they are to remain competitive internationally in this century they need better training grounds, facilities and modern equipment,” noted President Kibaki.

“Funds allocated for development of sporting activities in the country will not be diverted to any other use”, warned President Kibaki.

President Kibaki directed the Ministry of Youth and Sports to fast track the establishment of the National Sports Lottery in order to attain adequate and reliable funding for games activities.

“I also ask the Ministry of Youth and Sports to fast track the establishment of the National Sports Lottery. I am aware that this has dragged on for too long,” said the President.

“Relevant Government departments should therefore ensure that there is no further delay.  It is important to note that when established, the lottery will provide adequate and reliable funding for sport activities,” he added.

President Kibaki expressed satisfaction with the remarkable improvement the country had realized both in performance during international championships and sports development in recent years and commended the Ministries of Education and Youth Affairs and Sports for creating a suitable environment for talented Kenyans to display their endowments.

Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Prof. Helen Sambili urged Athletics Kenya to now shift focus and start preparations to host the 2010 Senior Athletics Championship as the Government had released the initial Sh230 million.

The Minister assured stakeholders and all sports federations in the country that the government would continue working with them to tap talents at the grassroots level.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports plans to recruit qualified sports officers for all constituencies to assist tap sports talents at the grassroots level,” said Sambili.

As a commitment by the Government towards the development of the sports industry in the country, the Head of State also announced the allocation of another Kshs 100 million for refurbishment of Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret during the current financial year.

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