Drug cheats will not be feted at the 2015 Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA), organisers said on Wednesday.
Speaking during the launch of this year’s event, the awards founder and International Olympics Committee Member Paul Tergat said it was time to stamp out doping from the sport.
The former World Marathon record-holder said the theme for this year’s event was inspired by recent cases of doping among Kenyan athletes and will hope to raise awareness among athletes and fans on the dangers of using banned substances.
“These awards were founded to recognise and award outstanding achievements attained through hard work, discipline and dedication. The entry of cheating by use of drugs or any other method of unfair play has no place in the awards or in sport, which is why we have chosen to raise awareness on the matter,” Tergat said.
“Sports thrives best in a clean environment, and it is our duty to do what we can to create and protect a drug-free environment.”
The 12th edition of the awards will feature 17 categories and will be held on January 15 next year.
The public will get a chance to nominate teams and individuals for the specific categories and the names will be vetted by a panel of judges selected from sports editors and reporters in the country.
NTV’s Sports Editor Watson Karuma will chair the panel taking over from Evelyn Watta. Other panellists include Ayumba Ayodi (Daily Nation), Robin Toskin (Standard), James Waindi (People Daily), Chris Mbaisi (The Star), Lynne Wachira (KTN), Mutuota Mutwiri (Capital FM) and James Wokabi (SuperSport).
Karuma told Daily Nation Sport his team will work hard to ensure they only short-list deserving candidates and called on the public to submit their nominees.
“The task ahead is not easy but we shall work without fear or favour in ensuring that top performers are feted. We urge the public to participate in helping us award our sports men and women,” Karuma said.
Mobile service providers Safaricom, which has sponsored the event since its inception in 2004, have renewed their sponsorship to a tune of Sh15 million while SuperSport chipped in with Sh1.5 million.
The awards are expected to be very competitive following sterling performances of athletes in various disciplines this year, most notably at the World Championships in Beijing in August where Kenya finished top of the standings.