NAIROBI, Kenya, October 1 – A grand ceremony is planned to mark the tenth Sports Personality of the Year Awards on December 6, organisers of the annual black tie parade promised during the launch in Nairobi on Monday.
All past winners are expected to grace the event to not only honour the outstanding performers of this campaign but also celebrate the years of existence since its inception in 2004.
The event also received the largest cheque from sponsors Safaricom who presented them with Sh12m with founder and newly elected International Olympics Committee (IOC) Member, Paul Tergat, telling of his disbelief that the event had marked such a milestone.
“I cannot imagine that I lived to this event celebrate ten years. It was difficult to get the idea going and we faced many challenges to get here so to me, this will be the best edition so far.
“It has all been down to the support of the sponsors who have been with us since 2003, the panel of judges and many others who have supported this event and I’m so grateful,” Tergat noted at the sidelines of the launch.
Fittingly, revered veteran sports journalist, Omulo Okoth, the editor of The Standard, will chair the panel of judges for this landmark edition and he told of how hard it will be to select winners in the 16 categories marked for recognition.
“This year it’s going to be hard to select winners because Kenya has performed extremely well in various events that took place during the year.
“It will also be important since the nation will also be marking 50 years of independence so we have the duty to organise an event that will mirror the celebratory mood in the country,” Okoth added.
The nomination process will open soon to the public and will last for one month.
“I will use my position as an IOC member to develop and nature talent in the grassroots to steer sports in this country to greater heights,” Tergat noted.
“On the 10th anniversary of these awards we intend to raise the profile of this calendar event by not just having an event that is inward looking, but also allows us to draw from the inspiration of those who have challenged us.
“That is why we look forward to having international athletes in our midst”, said Safaricom’s Marketing Director, Rita Okuthe when handing over the sponsorship cheque.
The ceremony will see an intense battle for honours following the various events held this year including the Worlds in Moscow Russia where Kenya finished fourth in the World and first in Africa with 12 medals, five of them gold.
Kenya’s squad to the Bydgoszcz World Cross in Poland also brought home six out of the eight titles on offer in March with Wilson Kipsang breaking the world marathon record for men on Sunday.
Outside athletics, the country bagged an eighth crown at the Africa Nations Cup for Women in volleyball with Kenya’s representatives at the Paralympics posting a roaring performance.
David Rudisha, the 800 meters Olympics champion and World record holder was crowned last year’s overall winner at the event champion runners have dominated.