Senior sports people urged to ease passing of the baton

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Thursday, December 21st 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
From Left, Athletics Head Coach Douglas Wakiihuri, Founder SOYA Paul Tergat, Watson Karuma Chairman nomination of SOYA judges and Victor Ngumo head of sales and Operations Nairobi west Safaricom during Safaricom presentation for SOYA at Michael Joseph Centre on Dec 20, 2017. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Seasoned athletes have been asked to mentor their juniors to facilitate a smooth transition.

This is in line with this year’s the Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) awards themed ‘passing on the baton’ set for January 17, 2018 in Nairobi.

“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,” Paul Tergat, the Soya founder, said.

Tergat was speaking yesterday as Safaricom announced a Sh16 million sponsorship for the 14th edition of the annual event that recognises, celebrates, and awards outstanding athletes and the unique roles that sports continue to play in shaping the Kenyan identity.  

Launched in 2004 with only six categories, the Soya awards have grown and currently include 16 categories celebrating male and female athletes as well as coaches, community heroes, and sports federations.

“The Soya awards remain one of our most heartfelt ways to say a big thank you to the gallant and resilient sports performers of 2017. Since I founded the awards 14 years ago, I have taken great pride in seeing them achieve their vision of recognising, rewarding, and motivating our sports people,” Tergat added.  

The former champion, who is also the National Olympic of Kenya chairman, emphasised the winning clean initiative which aims to ensure that Kenyan athletes are free of doping.

“As we seek to foster good governance in sports, I call on our athletes, coaches, physiotherapists, and the entire sports family to strive to be people of integrity. We are also working on finding better ways of fighting the doping menace,” he said. 

Victor Ngumo, the Safaricom head of regional sales and operations, Nairobi West, said the firm was committed to the cause.

“For close to a decade-and-a-half now the Soya Awards have been a highlight of Kenya’s sports calendar, celebrating outstanding achievements and growing each year to become the premier sports event in Kenya. 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,” Ngumo said.

As has been the norm, the public will be allowed to vote via Facebook for their favourite personalities in 16 categories once voting is opened between January 6 and 14.

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