NAIROBI, October 21 – Drug cheats will not be honoured at this year’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) as event founder and International Olympics Committee Member, Paul Tergat, added his respected voice to calls on Government to criminalise the vice.
Tergat, a former world marathon record holder and two-time Olympics silver medallist announced Wednesday the annual black tie gala will be held in Nairobi on January 15, 2016.
The theme for this year’s edition for the fete that recognises outstanding achievements in Kenyan sports – Take responsibility and stay clean- is inspired by the recent rise of doping cases in the country. It hopes to raise awareness among athletes on dangers of performance enhancing drugs use.
“It’s shocking that we are witnessing doping cases nearly every day. We will not tolerate these shortcuts where some of our sportsmen or ruthless agents are trying to take added advantage in terms of using prohibited substances.
“As SOYA, we believe in fairness, hard work and dedication in all aspects. I’m sure polices are being formulated and this negative vice that is creeping in sports should be criminalized and penalised so that if you are doping, you should be able to carry your own cross as an individual and not a sport,” the SOYA founder and five-time World Cross senior men champion declared.
African women 800m bronze winner, Agatha Jeruto and road racer, Josephine Jepkoech are the latest convicted Kenyan drug cheats after Athletics Kenya announced their two and four years bans from the sport testing positive for Norandrosterone.
With athletes who excelled in the Beijing’s IAAF World Championships expected to be feted, sprinters, Joyce Zakari and Fransesca Koki will not be considered for nomination after they were provisionally suspended after their A-Samples returned adverse findings at the global showpiece where Kenya ruled the world.
The Government through the ministry of sports constituted Anti Doping Agency of Kenya late last year that is dealing with the cases and in January, the country was rocked when female marathon star, Rita Jeptoo’s, was handed a two-year ban for prohibited blood booster, EPO.
On the awards, Tergat announced the schools category which is one of the 17 nominees will compete for awards will be expanded with performances between January and December this year being considered across all divisions.
The awards are expected to be competitive following sterling performances of athletes in various disciplines this year, most notably the IAAF World Championships, Africa Women Volleyball championships, World Youth Championships as well as regional and local competitions.
“We look forward to an exciting contest among the nominees in the various categories. As is SOYA’s tradition, we will award the best of the best, so this year’s panel of judges has the unenviable task of selecting a few winners from a big pool of athletes,” Tergat stated.
Nomination are open to the public and they can nominate the best spotsmen and women, sports federations, coaches and community heroes through facebook (Soya Awards Kenya), twitter (@soyaawards) or to email@example.com.
The panel of judges comprises Sports editors and writers from various media houses in the country.
Integrated communications service provider, Safaricom title-sponsored the event to a tune of Sh15m while Multichoice Kenya injected Sh1.5m.
World men’s 5000m silver medallist, Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku is the 2014 Sports Personality of the Year.
The Sportsman and Sportswoman, Most Promising (male and female), Coach, Team, Disabled (male and female) and Federation of the year awards are among other gongs that will be handed out during the gala.
A recipient will be inducted to the Hall of Fame with another winning the Community Hero award for services to sport that impact on society in the event open to citizens of Kenya.