Former marathon world record holder and founder of the annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) Paul Tergat has called on all sports stakeholders to join hands in the fight of the ills crippling the sporting industry.
Narrating how far their generation of sports men and women has come in terms of being appreciated for their achievements, Tergat was categorical in calling for close scrutiny of managers, coaches and federations to put an end to the wrangles, corruption and doping scandals that are threatening to kill the hype in sports.
“We have come up with robust ways of dealing with the negativity surrounding sports but more is needed. The industry has come a long way and we need to tap the power it has to benefit the youth by encouraging them to join sports,” said Tergat who is the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) boss.
He was speaking during Safaricom’s sponsorship presentation for SOYA, where the company announced a Sh16 million title sponsorship for the event themed ‘Passing on the Baton’ scheduled for January 17.
“The awards have become the best way to award sports personalities for their resilience but most important our theme 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,” Tergat added.
He also called on athletes to develop a culture of excellence, patriotism and devotion to the core values of sportsmanship, fair play and team work while challenging managers to maintain a practice of dedication to mentorship as well as building lasting legacies for upcoming generations.
The Awards, which are now in their 14th year, were launched in 2004 with six categories to recognise outstanding athletes across sporting disciplines, and the unique role that sports continue to play in shaping the Kenyan identity.
They have since grown to include 16 categories, celebrating male and female athletes as well as coaches, community heroes and sports federations. “As a brand, Safaricom is extremely proud of the growth we have seen since the inaugural SOYA Awards.
In line with our brand spirit of Twaweza we believe that great things happen when we come together, and we foresee a bright future for sports in Kenya as we continue to work together with passion, dedication and integrity,” Victor Ngumo, HoD Regional Sales & Operations, Nairobi West Region, Safaricom, said adding that the theme is a nod to the transition taking place within the sports fraternity.