Black tie Soya gala to be devolved this year

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RUDISHA-JEBETNAIROBI, Kenya, August 9 – In the spirit of the new devolved system of Government Mombasa, Eldoret and Nakuru are being considered to host the 11th Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soyas) black tie glamorous gala in December according to organisers.

This will be the first time in a decade the annual fete that rewards top individual and institutional performers as well as federations across various sporting disciplines in a calendar year will be held outside Nairobi with founder patron and former marathon record holder, Paul Tergat, maintaining they will not add any category from the customary 16.

“We are in consultation with sponsors to change the venue and take the event to Counties, as its stands there is high possibility of hosting it in Mombasa.

“We want to take the gala where the athletes come from because this is a national event and we want everyone to feel accommodated,” Tergat, the former five-time World Cross senior men champion announced when receiving a Sh1.5m (17,055.15 USD) sponsorship cheque from Multichoice Kenya on Friday.

Tergat, the International Olympics Committee Member, said the panel of judges drawn from local media houses and title sponsor Safaricom, will have a difficult time in selecting nominees since Kenya performed well at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games as well as the women’s national team who debuted in the World Volleyball Grand Prix Championship in Mexico among other big events.

“We want to make sure we appreciate and reward our athletes who have done the country proud for example at the World Junior Championships, African Youth Championships, there is so much so I want to assure sports men and women we will have a quality gala as we intend to make it better every year.

“We started with seven categories and now we have 16 so we don’t want to dilute since it’s a good number to work with,” the former two-time World Half marathon winner added.

Organisers have set a budget of Sh21m (USD 238, 772) that will also cater for prize money where winners in each category will receive the usual Sh150, 000 (1.75 USD) for each gong.

Deaflympian Simon Cherono was last year’s overall winner with two-time Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi and double Worlds marathon women’s titleholder Edna Kiplagat scooping the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year accolades.

During the fete, SuperSport pledged to cater for the production costs of the gala as they have done in the last seven years.

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