NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – The 2020 Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) will take a change from its tradition and host sports men and women to a day-long symposium and appreciation dinner on Saturday, February 20 in Naivasha.
The change was necessitated after the 2020 Sporting Calendar was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic that saw major events like the Tokyo Olympics, World Athletics Under-20 Championships and World Sevens Series postponed.
The pandemic also affected the local sports that led to some of the leagues like the Football Kenya Premier League, Kenya Cup and Volleyball season among others cancelled.
This year’s event will be sponsored by the County Government of Nakuru, who injected Kes 2 million, Communications Authority of Kenya, who boosted the event with Kes 2million, Safaricom PLC with kes 1 million and CPF Financial Services with Kes 300,000.
Speaking during the launch while receiving the sponsorships, SOYA founder Paul Tergat said; “I wish to pay great tribute to our partners here today for seeing beyond the challenges; indeed, the adversity of COVID-19 and sharing their little resources towards making the SOYA 2020 recognition awards and sports symposium possible to organize.”
SOYA chairman Chris Mbaisi added that; “The event will be different from previous as we shall not be rewarding top performances in area of sport but rather recognising efforts and possibilities during the year 2020.”
“However, because sports is a resilient human endeavour, we shall host a sports symposium and a gala night to honour a few people who made an effort to overcome the adversity,” Mbaisi stated.
CPF Financial Services Group CEO, Hosea Kili promised to support the SOYA awards for the long haul as is testament to their brand that provides support through pension schemes to Kenyans of all walks of life including sports men and women.
“The Brand Equity the sports men and women have brought to Kenya needs to be celebrated. We are proud to join the fraternity of SOYA sponsors and want to assure you of our continued support. As a corporate, we have CPF Group Foundation to support and provide athletes with a pension fund scheme that we will be launching later in the year,” he noted.
Speaking on behalf of the Communications Authority Director General, Mr. Chrispine Ogongo, the Manger for Licensing, Compliance and Standards noted that SOYA 2020 is taking place as the country heals from the COVID-19 pandemic and the diversion from the norm in hosting this event is much welcome.
“The Communications Authority of Kenya has supported the annual SOYA awards for over 8 years. This is line with our Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives that seek to provide support to our sportsmen and women.
During the pandemic, we supported various ICT platforms that were adopted as a way of communication and outreach to the sports men and women and seek to continue this innovation as we grow the digital space in Kenya. We commend the SOYA team for setting up a symposium and wish you every success in hosting the event this weekend, he added on to say.
Dr. William Migwi, Nakuru County Director for Sports and Youth, speaking on behalf of the Nakuru Governor H.E. Lee Kinyanjui, welcomed SOYA to the county.
“The County Government is happy to host the event in Naivasha this year. We welcome you to the county of unlimited opportunity and diversity. At Naivasha, the participants will get to explore sports and safari tourism at its best. We as a county are glad to partners with SOYA and will provide for accommodation of participants coming to the event,” an elated Migwi explained.
For the Symposium that will be attended by top athletes in the country, the sessions will have three topics, the first being how sportsmen and women can handle fame and failure that will be conducted by 2008 Beijing 800m Olympic Champion Wilfred Bungei and Wangui Kibe who will take through the athletes on how to manage success.
The second topic will be on Sports Health that will be handled by Dr. Ilako Kanyali who will speak on mental health specialist and Sarah Shibutse who will take the athletes through the effects of doping.
The last topic will be Sports Media and Branding, and this will be conducted by Charles Gacheru and veteran journalist Elias Makori. After the symposium that will be held at Sawela lodge, an appreciation dinner gala for the sports personalities will follow thereafter at Lake Naivasha Resort.