The 2016 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) got more support on Thursday when three companies boosted its kitty with Sh5 million sponsorship.
Soya founder Paul Tergat said that plans for Soya Gala due on January 19 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre are complete when he received the sponsorship cheques from Lotto Foundation, National Hospital Insurance Fund and Communication Authority of Kenya at Raico Regency Hotel, Nairobi.
Lotto Foundation chairman Brian Waluchio gave a cheque of Sh3million while NHIF CEO Jeff Mwangi and CAK acting director, frequency spectrum management Ton Olweyo presented cheques of Sh1 million each.
The boost came a day after Kenya Tourism Board, National Social Security Fund and Vivienne Taa Fashion and Design contributed a total of Sh3 million for the awards.
Safaricom are the title sponsors in a deal of Sh16 million.
Tergat said that legendary Ethiopian athlete Haile Gebrselassie will be the celebrity chief guest during the gala where the overall winner will pocket Sh1 million, up from Sh 150,000 last year.
“It’s the support from these firms that has made us increase on the cash prizes across the 16 categories including the first and runners up positions,” said Tergat.
“I promise that this year’s Gala will be the best ever because of the support from our partners,” said Tergat.
“Soya Gala will celebrate the Rio Olympiads and other top performers last year like rugby,” Waluchio said.
Waluchio said Team Kenya for Rio Olympic Games staged the best ever show at the Summer Games yet it was not feted accordingly after many sideshows of mismanagement of the team took centre stage.
Mwangi cashed on the occasion to lure Kenyan sportsmen and women to secure insurance packages with NHIF.
“We have deliberated come up with packages specifically for sports and other artists and we are discussing with the ministry of sports, culture and arts on execution,” said Mwangi adding that the formation of Heroes Council will hasten the process.