NAIROBI, Kenya, May 14 – The Sport, Arts and Social Development Fund has availed Ksh30mn that will go towards cushioning vulnerable sports people whose income has been affected by the cancellations of sports events occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sports Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohammed has told Capital Sport that the money will be directly channeled to the vulnerable group of athletes as they look to remain afloat during this tough period.
“We met with the Sports Fund (on Wednesday) and they have decided to provide an additional 30 million shillings which our Ministry intends to directly channel to sportsmen and women who are in distress,” Amina said.
The additional funds will come as music to the ears of sportspeople, and it arrives just after betting firm Betika provided a Ksh15mn boost to the ministry fund, money which was channeled to a vulnerable group of sportspeople across all disciplines.
CS Amina has in the meantime called on more partners and sponsors to come out and help athletes remain afloat at this difficult time even as they await news on the resumption of various sports seasons.
“We intend to keep growing this program and as long as we get support from our partners as well as well-wishers who want to support our sportsmen. They have been great ambassadors to this country and done us extremely proud and it’s time now to support them,” Amina underscored.
Last week, the CS partnered with the Eliud Kipchoge Foundation with the marathon world record holder distributing foodstuff and essential materials to over 1,500 families in the North Rift while the two also earmarked more than 900 vulnerable groups which they intend to keep supporting.
“It was a very successful exercise with Eliud and it was brilliantly executed by him. I am grateful to Eliud for his selfless dedication to the welfare of his fellow sportsmen and women. Eliud has been designated UNESCO goodwill ambassador for sports integrity and values and it’s clear that his service to humanity goes beyond international reputation,” CS Amina commented.
The monetary support will offer relief for sportsmen and especially athletes who have seen match appearance fees, bonuses and winnings disappear in thin air with most events cancelled or postponed.
However, there is a slight ray of hope after World Athletics earlier this week published a new calendar of events with the Diamond League and Continental Tour meets expected to gun off in August.
Kenya’s leg of the Continental Gold Tour has also been retained and will now be held on September 26 offering local athletes an opportunity to compete for a prize money purse well over Sh21mn.
“We are very happy that we have retained the Continental Gold Tour event which has also been given a new date. We worked hard on it last year in Monte Carlo, to ensure we have it. This will bring us great national pride and offer our people an opportunity to watch champions compete at home,” the CS noted.
She added; “We have spent time and resources over the last few years to prepare infrastructure to host events. We anticipate many more opportunities to host local, regional and international events here in Nairobi.”