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Calls for stiffer penalties on doping

By JONATHAN KOMEN | January 15th 2015
From left: Elias Karumi, Acting Managing Director, Kenya Pipeline Company presents a dummy cheque of ksh. 3million to SOYA Panel of judges chairperson Everline Watta and Former 800m champion Wilfred Bungei towards the 2014 SOYA awards on 13-01-2015.PHOTO/DENNIS OKEYO

Organisers and sponsors of the Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) have called for stiffer penalties to doping offenders.

Former Olympic 800m champion Wilfred Bungei, who represented Soya patron and founder Paul Tergat during a cheque handover ceremony at a Nairobi hotel on Tuesday, said offenders should face stiffer penalties from the government.

“It’s sad that even now in my post athletic career some people ask me whether I used any performance enhancing substance; all occasioned by the sudden rise in cases of drug cheats among our athletes. It is a shameful and selfish act,” said Bungei, who was the 2008 Soya Awards runner-up.

The organisers of the 11th Soya fete, set for Friday night at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, received Sh3 million from Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC), Sh1million from New KCC and Sh500,000 from Kenya Tourism Board while Kenya Airways will facilitate travel plans for yet-to-be-disclosed international celebrity.

KPC acting managing director Elias Karumi said dope cases derail the good name of Kenyan performance in athletics and “athletes need not to dope to win but run to win.”

“As co-sponsors of the awards, we aim at promoting the awarding of the sports persons and team who have beat huge challenges to perform exemplary and hoisted the Kenyan flag. Our athletes are indeed our best ambassadors,” said Karumi.

New KCC chairman Matu Wamae said those found guilty of abetting doping must face the wrath of the law.

“These foreign agents and managers said to be involved in doping must be severely punished.
“When we nurture such talent, we provide an avenue to grow the sports industry and sustain the reputable record of great performance inculcated through good etiquette, endurance and discipline for the good of all. We as New KCC are back at sports sponsorship again,” said Wamae.

He said apart from the sponsorship opportunities for events such as Soya the dairy sector plays key role in creating a platform for engagement and mentoring of individuals and teams.

Muriithi Ndegwa, the KTB managing director, said sports tourism has cut a niche in marketing Kenya.

“Our sports personalities market Kenya as a destination for not only high altitude training venues for athletes but also great running ground for other non-athletic sports such as water sports, ball games, skating games, motor biking and autocross,” said Ndegwa.

Former world marathon record holder Tergat, in his speech read on his behalf by Bungei, paid glowing tribute to institutions that have sponsored Soya awards noting that it has proven to be an avenue for promoting sports.

“I challenge you to consider supporting causes in the sports arena not just as a one-off event but as a continuous process aimed at instilling ethics and good skills in the upcoming and established sports personalities,” said Tergat.

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