NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 20- Telecommunication giant Safaricom has announced a Sh16mn sponsorship towards next month’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA).
Safaricom has supported the SOYA awards since its inception 14 years ago and the 16mn sponsorship announced on Wednesday morning is a similar amount given last year, with the figure having grown from Sh12mn in 2015.
“As a brand, Safaricom is extremely proud of the growth we have seen since the inaugural SOYA Awards and we foresee a bright future for sports in Kenya as we continue to work together with passion, dedication and integrity,” Victor Ngumo, HoD Regional Sales & Operations, Nairobi West Region said as he presented the cheque to SOYA founder Paul Tergat.
The awards ceremony will be staged at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre on January 17, bringing together a galaxy of sports stars from around the country, seeking to recognize and reward their blood and sweat for the country.
The Awards were launched in 2004 with six categories to recognize outstanding athletes across sporting disciplines, and the unique role that sports continue to play in shaping the Kenyan identity.
They have since grown to include 16 categories, celebrating male and female athletes as well as coaches, community heroes and sports federations.
“Since I founded the Awards 14 years ago, I have taken great pride in seeing the SOYA Awards achieve their vision of recognizing, rewarding and motivating our sports people,” Tergat said.
This year’s theme, Passing on the Baton, is a nod to the transition taking place within the sports fraternity, as more established athletes pave way for rising stars and sporting federations embrace younger leadership.
Tergat, the awards’ founder was elected as the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) president mid this year taking over from Kipchoge Keino who had been at the helm for a while.
Football has also seen a transition to younger leadership with Nick Mwendwa taking over from Sam Nyamweya.
“Our theme this year was chosen to encourage our experienced athletes, those at the top of their careers, to take on the role of mentors and encourage the rising stars to aspire to great achievements and stand ready to receive the mantle of leadership,” Tergat further explained.