The government on Tuesday lived up to its promise to reward medallists from last month's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with a total of Sh12,250,000.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa presented some of the medallists with their dummy cheques during a colourful ceremony at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi.
Echesa promised Kenyan sportsmen and women a revolution in sports governance in the country.
“We want to run things differently where we shall always appreciate and recognise their performances through proper rewards systems,” said Echesa, who was accompanied by sports chief administrative secretary Hassan Noor and principal secretaries Karimi Kaberia and Josepta Mukobe.
Also present were the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) president Paul Tergat, Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei and Webuye West legislature Dan Wanyama, who is former Kenya international volleyballer.
“During my tenure as the minister, I shall make sure that our athletes are celebrated well when they deliver,” said Echesa, who told federations that his office will always be open for them to visit and discuss issues affecting sports.
Echesa said dummy cheque presentation was just ceremonial since the cash rewards were already in the athletes' respective accounts.
Echesa cashed on the occasion to announce that renovations at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, are complete and the stadium will host the Gor Mahia versus Hull City match on Sunday.
He said Nyayo National Stadium and Kinoru Stadium, Meru are getting final touches and should be ready for the second leg of SportPesa Premier league matches in July.
“Constructions at Marsabit and Kipchoge Keino stadia are ongoing,” said Echesa.
Kenya collected 17 medals from Gold Coast; four gold, seven silver and four bronze.
Gold medallist got Sh1 million, silver medallist Sh750,000 and bronze medallist Sh500,000.
Some of the gold medallist at hand to receive their cheques were Elijah Manangoi (1,500m), who was Team Kenya captain, Hellen Obiri (5,000m) and Wycliffe Kinyamal (800m).
Also present were silver medallists Cellphine Chespol (3,000msteeplechase), Stacy Ndiwa (10,000m), Beatrice Chepkoech (1,500m), Abraham Kibiwott (3,000msteeplechase) and Margaret Nyairera (800m).
Christine Ongare, the only boxing medallist from Gold Coast, was among the bronze medallists to receive their rewards. Others are Purity Kirui (3,000msteeplechase), Samuel Gathimba (20km race walk), Amos Kirui (3,000msteeplechase).
Manangoi thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for ensuring that all the allowances for Team Kenya have been paid and that all medallists from Gold Coast had their monies in their accounts on time.
“This is a gesture that we are not taking lightly,” said Manangoi, adding that they will feel motivated in future if basic facilities, allowances and good accommodation is given to athletes while preparing for major sporting events.
“With all these in place, there will be no complaints and the burden will be on us to perform.”