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Safaricom recharge Sh16mn into SOYA kitty

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho awards Eliud Kipchoge with the athlete of the year gong during the 2018 event

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 18 – Leading telecommunication giants Safaricom PLC have handed the Sports Personality of The Year Awards (SOYA) scheduled for next month a huge financial injection of Sh16mn to retain their title sponsorship status.

Safaricom has been SOYA’s partner for the last 16 years and founder Paul Tergat, who is also the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) boss said he was delighted the telecommunication giant have picked up the SOYA call once again.

“These awards are the highlight of the Kenyan sporting calendar and are growing each year to become a premier sports event. Safaricom believed in my dream when I was still an active athlete and 16 years down the line, they continue to walk with us as we reward our sports personalities for their efforts throughout their season,” said Tergat.

Safaricom Special Projects Joe Ogutu announcing the Ksh 16 million sponsorship towards 2019 Safaricom SOYA Awards. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Safaricom Chief Special Projects Officer Joseph Ogutu noted that as a brand, Safaricom is extremely proud of the growth they have seen since the inaugural SOYA Awards.

“The categories awarded keep all sports lovers hooked as they reach far and wide and recognize all disciplines. As a company, we are committed to supporting this initiative to greater heights,” he said.

Tergat at the same time launched the 2019 edition of the event set to be held in Mombasa County on January 24, 2020.

Safaricom Chief Special Projects Joe Ogutu hands over a dummy cheque of Kshs 16 Million to Soya Awards founder Paul Tergat and chairman Bismark Mutahi. Photo/AYMOND MAKHAYA

The awards were first held 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 18 categories, celebrating male and female athletes as well as coaches, community heroes and sports federations across all disciplines.

Tergat further acknowledged the tough job the panel has in choosing the best amongst the athletes across all the disciplines.

He lauded the panels tasked with coming up with the winners for striving for inclusion and awarding even the humblest of sports personalities. He further called for investment on upcoming athletes from all stakeholders to keep Kenya’s flag high in all the disciplines that the country thrives in.

SOYA Awards founder Paul Tergat giving his speech during the announcement of 2019 Safaricom SOYA Awards. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

“Despite all the challenges our athletes face, including the challenge of infrastructure, they go over and beyond in flying the country’s flag high and thus deserve this recognition. All the nominees should be proud of their achievements. Getting their efforts recognized from the pool of athletes we have in the country is a big achievement by itself,” added Tergat.

Amongst the categories to be awarded include the Overall Sports Personality of the Year, Sportsman and Woman of the Year, Team of the Year for men and women as well as Federation of the Year.

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Others include Coach of the Year, Community Hero or Heroine usually recognized for their contribution to sports in the community, Hall of Fame and Sports Personalities Living with Disability. Upcoming athletes are also recognized through Most Promising Award and the School Categories.

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