Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) Tuesday joined the list of sponsors of the 2018 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya), providing Sh3 million towards the kitty ahead of the gala night planned for Friday in Mombasa.
KPC Corporate Communications Manager Jason Nyatino handed over the company’s sponsorship of Sh3 million to Soya ambassador Douglas Wakiihuri in a ceremony at Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi on Friday.
Nyatino said KPC is proud to be associated with Kenyan sportsmen and women through the noble initiative.
“This the biggest initiative in East Africa that rewards athletes and we are extremely proud to be part of it,” said Nyatino. “Over the years, KPC has been involved in promoting and nurturing talent and that is what Soya is all about.”
Nyatino said that the company has chosen to invest in sports for the fourth year running because it believes sports is important in Kenya’s national development.
Nyatino singled out former Africa and national women’s volleyball champions Kenya Pipeline as worthy of praise. The team has won Africa Club Championships seven times.
Wakiihuri, who made history as the first Kenyan to win a World marathon title in 1987 in Rome, thanked the sponsors for their support over the years and declared that Mombasa is ready to host more than 600 guests for the 15th edition of the gala night.
“We are looking forward to having a great event in Mombasa. All nominees and guests will have great time in the coastal town,” Wakiihuri said. “This is also a chance for Mombasa to open up for more sporting activities.” The other sponsors are Mombasa County, Kenya Power, Kenya Ports Authority, National Social Security Fund, New KCC and LapFund.
The Soya gala, that will be held at Fort Jesus in Mombasa, will see sportsmen and women who have excelled in various disciplines in 2018 being rewarded. This is the first time Soya Gala is being held outside Nairobi.
A panel of sports writers and editors, led by James Wokabi, has had a difficult task sifting through tens of the nominations to identify winners in the 18 categories.
The sportsman and woman of the year categories have particularly witnessed tough competition. Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, who is fresh from breaking the World marathon record in a new time of 2hrs, 01min and 39secs, faces compatriots Elijah Manangoi (1,500m) and Conseslus Kipruto (3,000m steeplechase), who both won the Commonwealth Games, Africa and Continental Cup (World Cup) titles last year.
However, Kenya Sevens rugby star William Ambaka and Harambee Stars goalkeeper Patrick Matasi are out to stop athletics dominance. The only other sportsmen outside athletics to have won the men’s title are swimmer Jason Dunford (2007) and rugby sensation Collins Injera (2009).