Sports / Updates
Thursday, 21 Dec 2017 11:35 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
Safaricom has announced a KSh16 million title sponsorship of the annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards, popularly known as SOYA. 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. “For close to a decade and a half now the SOYA Awards have been a highlight of Kenya’s sports calendar, celebrating outstanding achievements and growing each year to become the premier sports event in Kenya,” Victor Ngumo, HoD Regional Sales and Operations, Nairobi West Region, Safaricom, said.
“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,” Mr Ngumo said.
This year’s theme, Passing on the Baton, is a nod to the transition taking place within the sports fraternity, as more established athletes pave way for rising stars and sporting federations embrace younger leadership.
“The SOYA Awards remain one of our most heartfelt ways to say a big thank you to the gallant and resilient sports performers of 2017. Since I founded the Awards 14 years ago, I have taken great pride in seeing the Safaricom SOYA Awards achieve their vision of recognizing, rewarding and motivating our sports people,” Paul Tergat, SOYA Founder and Chairman said.
“Our theme this year 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,” Mr. Tergat said.
Safaricom has over the years invested well over Sh100 million in the Awards, which are expected to attract a galaxy of sports stars when they are held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre on 17 January 2018.
In January this year, Vivian Cheruiyot was awarded the Overall Sports Personality of the Year at the 13th edition of the Awards. Other winners included: Eliud Kipchoge (Athletics, Sportsman Of The Year 2016), the National Rugby Sevens Team (Sports Team Of The Year, Men) and Harambee Starlets (Football), who clinched the Sports Team Of The Year, Women’s category award.