MOMBASA, Kenya, Sep 4 – The 15th anniversary celebrations of the annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) will be held in Mombasa County, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the County Government on Tuesday.
This will be the first time that the awards, primarily held in Nairobi are hosted outside the capital.
The event will not only see the County host the gala but also partner with SOYA in initiatives that will promote nurturing the uptake of sports disciplines such as water sports and beach games as Kenya looks to increase its portfolio and build a competitive edge in the sporting arena.
Speaking at the ceremony, SOYA Founder, Paul Tergat noted that the potential of the SOYA event growing to become a phenomenon in the East African region and beyond is huge and needs to be supported.
“We are very excited that SOYA has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. We owe this to our dear partners led by our title sponsor safaricom who have believed in our mission and continuously support this initiative. More so, today we are happy to partner with Mombasa County in this noble idea to host the SOYA awards outside Nairobi County,” he said.
He also noted the importance of having the celebrations across the county as a way of promoting the country through sports tourism.
“Most of our sportsmen and women have traveled far and wide across continents world over. However, they also need to equally visit the other parts of their country. I, therefore, believe we need to partner with counties to host this event across the country as a way to showcase the treasures we have and promote sports tourism in Kenya using our brand ambassadors,” Added the former Cross Country great.
Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho said that hosting SOYA, a premier initiative outside Nairobi was an honor and great privilege.
“We are honored to partner with you in an initiative that not only promotes sports but pays tribute to our sports personalities who ably fly our flag high be it locally, nationally or internationally,” he noted.
He noted the importance of a partnership such as this as it will motivate the upcoming sportspersons from the county and beyond to nurture and grow their talent as they venture into various novel sports activities for leisure and as a career as well.
“We the people of Mombasa County welcome SOYA here and we are looking forward to hosting a great event and welcome the people who have traditionally attended the event to visit Mombasa for the event. We will provide the necessary support to ensure we grow the number of sports persons, enthusiasts, participants and fans in various unique sports activities that we have to offer,” he said.
Present to witness were representatives from the event’s title sponsors, Safaricom PLC led by the Company’s Head of Department, Coast region, James Maitai.
“As a brand, Safaricom is extremely proud of the growth we have seen since the inaugural SOYA Awards. We have been a part of SOYA’s birth, growth and development from the start.”
“We are very excited that this noble initiative that Paul Tergat started 15 years ago is now moving from its traditional home in Nairobi. We are looking forward to a great partnership during the awards here in Mombasa in the January 2019,” said Mr. Maitai.