For the first time since its inception, the annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) Gala, in its 15th anniversary, will be hosted outside Nairobi, with Mombasa County landing the January hosting rights even as organisers plan to hold the celebrations across the country as a way of promoting Kenya through sports tourism.
SOYA Founder Paul Tergat, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mombasa County Government, a partnership which will not only see the county host the gala but also collaborate with SOYA in initiatives that will promote nurturing the uptake of sports disciplines such as water sports and beach games as Kenya looks to increase its portfolio and build a competitive edge in the sporting arena.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony Tergat noted that the potential of the SOYA event growing to become a phenomenon in East Africa and beyond is huge and needs to be supported.“We are very excited that SOYA has grown in leaps and bounds over the years.
We owe this to our partners led by our title sponsor Safaricom who have believed in our mission and continuously support this initiative. More so, today we are happy to partner with Mombasa County in this novel idea to host the SOYA awards outside Nairobi County,” said Tergat.
The former athlete also emphasised the importance of having the celebrations across the country as a way of promoting the country through sports tourism.
“Most of our sportsmen and women have travelled far and wide and there is need for them to equally visit other parts of their country. I, therefore, believe we need to partner with counties to host this event across the country as a way to showcase the treasures we have and promote sports tourism in Kenya using our brand ambassadors,” he added.
On his part, Governor Hassan Joho said that hosting [email protected], a premier initiative outside Nairobi, was a great privilege. He said that such a partnership will motivate upcoming sports personalities from the county and beyond to nurture and grow their talent as they venture into various novel sports activities for leisure and as a career.