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Sports bodies salivating at Budget billions

Last updated 2 months ago | By Washington Onyango

Shujaa captain Andrew Amonde in action during training at the RFUEA grounds ahead of the Los Angeles and Vancouver Sevens. Feb 20, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Sports federations are hoping for positive results after the government allocated Sh14 billion to the sector in the 2020/21 financial year.

On Thursday, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said “sports, culture, tourism and arts contribute immensely to our economic development by boosting job creation for our youth and generating foreign exchange.

“To support these sectors, I propose an allocation of Sh14 billion to the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund.”

The amount is higher than last year's when the Ministry of Sports and Heritage was allocated Sh5.3 billion.

Jackson Tuwei, the Athletics Kenya (AK) president, welcomed the move, saying he expects support from the Ministry of Sports for a number of international events lined up in the financial year, with Tokyo Olympic Games top on the list.

AK are set to organise the World Athletics Under 20 Athletics Championships and World Athletics Continental Tour in Nairobi as well as send teams to Africa Cross Country Championships, Africa Senior Athletics Championships, which have prepared a budget of Sh1.5 billion.

He asked the ministry to help develop athletics infrastructure, which are key in ensuring Kenya protects her turf as the athletics super power.

“We need development if we are to continue dominating the world in athletics. We need facilities all the way from grassroots level so that we can identify, nurture and develop talents,” he said.

“Winning comes through a lot of effort, support and coordination. Without proper facilities, athletes will continue suffering. Again, coaches and trainers need to be considered.”

Oduor Gangla, the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman, said their budget stands at Sh500 million and the allocation is a clear sign they can attain the targets.

“Sports in the country is slowly starting to be considered as one of the key entities of the nation and we are glad with the move," Gangla said.

He added that "more money means we are looking mostly at covering our programmes and improving on infrastructure and if we can get the money we requested, I believe we can improve our national teams and infrastructure.

“Kenya, the defending champions, will host U2O Barthes Cup and prepare for 2022 Rugby World Cup with Simbas. Shujaa and the Lionesses will also be on the Olympics Games and World Cup in 2021. So we hope the ministry will support us fully."

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