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Bungei lauds SOYA for recognizing athletes as sponsors boost event

By , People Daily Digital
Friday, January 14th, 2022 02:00 | 2 mins read
From left, Kenyan retired Middle-distance runner and politician, Wilfred Bungei (representing Tergat Foundation) and Malaika Strikers Volleyball Middle blocker, Trizah Atuka as they receive a cheque worth Sh 500,000 from Peris Nduta - Sponsorship Manager at Safaricom PLC, towards SOYA Awards at Sarova Panafric Hotel in Nairobi. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Former 800m Olympic medalist Wilfred Bungei has lauded efforts by organisers of Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) towards the recognition of achievers in the country.

Ahead of the 18th edition of the gala set for Bukhungu Stadium on January 25, Bungei says such awards mean so much to the sportspersons.

“I have been there so I know what it means to get recognised for a job well done,” said Bungei.

“I’m not saying that everything a person does deserves to be acknowledged with praise, balloons or a pat on the back, but, more times than not, it does feel good when someone tells you that a job was well done.

So I fully support the work Soya is doing,” said Bungei who was the 2008 male first runners up winner behind the late Samuel Wanjiru.

Kemboi challenged organisations like the The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to reach out to the athletes and talk to them on matters savings and planning for life after retirement.

“Such bodies must be at the ground to constantly talk to the athletes on better ways of planning for tomorrow and the need to do proper investment,” added the Kapsabet-born athlete, who catapulted himself and the country to fame in 1998 when he clinched the IAAF World Junior Championships in Annecy, France as a teenager.

Yesterday, the launch of annual event was done at a Nairobi Hotel with a number of sponsors coming on board to support the initiative.

Financial boost

The Soya event received a financial boost with NSSF giving Sh2 million, Lotto Foundation donating Sh1.5 million and Safaricom offering Sh500,000.

Soya panel chairman Chris Mbaisi noted unlike the previous year when the event was different from the previous editions mainly because many sports men and women were barred from sports participation due to the pandemic, this year’s event will revert to the recognising top achievers like before.

“We have made significant progress from last year when the event was held at the height of the pandemic.

Last year, we did not reward top performances in area of sport but rather recognised efforts and possibilities during the year 2020, because sports is a resilient human endeavour,” said Mbaisi.

Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir leads the nominees for the Sports Woman of the year award.

She will battle it out with Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Chepngetich, Vihiga Queens and Harambee Starlets star player Jentrix Shikangwa, tennis player Angela Okutoyi and volleyball star Sharon Chepchumba and Female rally driver Maxime Wahome.

The 2021 Soya Awards, whose theme is “From Resilience to Recovery,” is sponsored by Kakamega County.

The awards founded in 2003 by former athlete and current national Olympic committee of Kenya chairman Paul Tergat fetes outstanding sportsmen and women in a calendar year.