Kenya’s biggest sporting fete heads to the Coastal city

By Ernest Ndunda: Wednesday, September 5th 2018 at 11:03 GMT +3 | Sports
National Olympic Committee of Kenya President Paul Tergat (right) with Governor Hassan Ali Joho [Courtesy]

For the last 14 years, the annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) has been held in Nairobi but the next edition will be held in Mombasa in January.

This is after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Governor Hassan Joho and National Olympic Committee of Kenya President Paul Tergat.

Speaking at the ceremony held the governor’s office, Tergat said staging the event in Mombasa was a well-calculated move to promote and nurture sports in other counties including water sports even as the country looks to building a competitive edge in the sports world.

“We are happy that we have grown in leaps and bounds in the past 14 years alongside our title sponsors Safaricom. We are also happy to partner with Mombasa County in this noble idea to host SOYA awards outside Nairobi County,” Tergat yesterday.

“I founded SOYA awards from my personal initiative as an athlete and we must invest in the young generation. SOYA team will work with all the 47 countries to ensure we tap talent at the grassroots. We should also promote sports tourism in Kenya using our brand ambassadors,” said Tergat, a former world marathon record holder.

Tergat asked athletes to desist from doping.  “Nock ensure doping is a thing of the past. We are not going to sit down and watch the doping menace,” said Tergat.

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The event was attended by the Mombasa County Youth Gender and Sports Executive Munyoki Kyalo, County Secretary Francis Thoya, Coast region Safaricom Head of Department James Maitai and SOYA Panel of judges.

Joho said the partnership is not only about rewards but to motivate upcoming sportspersons from Mombasa County and beyond to nurture their sporting talents.

“For residents, Mombasa to host the awards is a big honour as we look forward to creating opportunities for the young people through sports,” he said.

Joho also said they will provide an office for the secretariat and SOYA officials to work together into ensuring the event succeeds.

Maitai said Safaricom is proud to have witnessed and supported the  growth of SOYA awards since its inception

“We have been part of SOYA’s birth, growth and development from the start and we shall continue supporting the noble initiative that Tergat started 15 years ago. We are looking forward to a greater partnership during the awards ceremony in Mombasa in January,” said Maitai.

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