NAIROBI (August 22) — The Safaricom Sports personality of the Year Awards, popularly known by its acronym—SOYA—continues to attract blue-chip sponsors in an unprecedented manner.
SOYA has since 2004 pioneered in this area by organizing annual gala dinner to reward exceptional performances in sports and in the community, which is only heard of at the global stage like FIFA, IAAF and IOC Gala Nights.
Its founder Dr. Paul Tergat having scaled the heights of global sports excellence approached like-minded people in the corporate world and media and came up with these awards that appreciate and recognize talented sportsmen and women and heroes and heroines who have made Kenya a global sporting nation.
Mobile telephony service provider, Safaricom has remained the title sponsor since inception in 2004, adding the sponsorship purse from a generous Ksh2.3 million at inauguration seven years ago to a whooping Ksh7 million, which it donated to the organizers of the annual event in August 2011.
If the most profitable company in the whole East and Central African region are the title sponsors, there must be something special about SOYA. This probably explains the addition of other blue chip companies like National Bank of Kenya, with one of the largest branch network in the country. NBK had earlier on donated Ksh3 million, having started with Ksh1 million three years ago.
Other generous sponsors are expected to announce their sponsorship in due course either as continued partnership or debut sponsors towards rewarding these crème’ de la crème of Kenyan sports people. Some of the past sponsors of the awards include the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK), Multichoice Kenya Limited, National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), Deacons Kenya Ltd, and National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to mention but a few.
Meanwhile, the public has welcomed the introduction of the overall winner’s category, which will begin at this year’s gala night on December 9.
Outgoing Panel Chairman, Chris Mbaisi of The Star could not have been more succinct during the title sponsorship cheque hand-over ceremony at Safaricom Headquarters a week ago: “We decided to come up with this category owing to the disparity of individual performances in their fields. For example, it was felt someone like Rudisha (David) was not supposed to be rewarded on the same scale as the female counterpart last year after dominating the world 800m race. He needed to take home a prize of higher significance apart from winning in the men’s category.”
During the announcement at the function graced by Dr Tergat, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore noted that “Soya is about honouring the pinnacle of commitment and competition in sports. It is the ultimate recognition event for excellence in sports in Kenya, paying tribute to dedication, discipline, hard work and victories of our sportsmen and women.” He assured of his Company’s continued support for Soya, going into the future.
“Sufficient sponsorship will enable us make the awards more glamorous and award generously to the many deserving athletes and also open it up for more categories”, Tergat also said.
Contact: Simon K Chebon