Athletics Athletics

Soya finalists out in a week


NAIROBI, Kenya, November 30- Final nominees for the annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) that will be held at Nairobi Arboretum on December 14 will be disclosed in a week, organisers declared on Wednesday.

The gala event has been moved from its original December 9 date as well as its Kenyatta International Conference Centre venue.

In a press briefing where Irish firm Seneca Group joined the long list of sponsors for the fete that recognises local sports glitterati in a calendar year, event patron and retired former world marathon record holder, Paul Tergat assured preparations were on track.

“We are on course and we are finalising everything now. So far we have brought a new category of the Most Outstanding Award that we never had before.

“There are so many sportspersons out there who have been at many Olympics or world championships and they have been very consistent and this award will go to a lady or gentleman who has remained consistent,” Tergat explained.

He added: “We have changed the date because of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup that ends on December 10 since in Soya; we need to accommodate everybody since we are not only about one sport (athletics) and we need to bring everybody on board.”

Seneca Group will provide cash backing as well as safety services to the awards that will be set at a huge dome at one of Nairobi’s premier environmental recreational centre.

Under the arrangement, the firm will provide 15 paramedical trained lady-ushers with experience in fire, safety and evacuation, 20 close protection VIP teams inside the venue and 40 personnel distributed around the dome with six supervisors.

“We were attracted to the Soya Awards since as a young company, we wanted to promote young people so we thought we would go in and speak to them and we were happy to be taken on board.

“Because this is an international event and we want to make sure it is a safe event. We have a full end to end solution from fire to paramedic ambulances to response vehicles as well as usher services to cater for the guests,” Dr. Hooria Chishti, the strategic consultant for Seneca said.

According to the consultant, the firm had divided their operation into five categories namely, fire evacuation, medical emergency and evacuation, ushering, VIP close protection and facilitation.

Seneca will partner with Red Cross E Plus ambulances with 19 paramedics manning five ambulances on standby.

“In light of what has been happening in the country of late, we are appreciative of the support we have received from Seneca since we want to leave nothing to chance,” Tergat, a captain at Kenya Defence Forces observed.

The chairman of the judging panel, Chris Mbaisi said they were deliberating on the final five nominees in each category with the final three set to be announced next week.

“It has been a crowded year and it has been difficult to come up with that is the best. For example, athletics over performed and it is very difficult to pick one athlete over the other.

“We are looking at disciplines like canoeing and the You Tube man (Julius Yego) who won the Javelin gold in the All Africa Games in Maputo among others. It will take a lot of dedication to come out with somebody the public will agree with,” Mbaisi stated.

The event budget has shot up to Sh16.3m up from the projected Sh14m due to the added categories and prevailing inflation that has witnessed some of the supplies shoot up in cost.

Organisers will announce in due course the international invited guests who will headline the awards.

“Definitely, the star guest will be from Africa,” Tergat added.