All set foe 20th SOYA fala

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024 05:00 | By
SOYA Founder and Nock President Paul Tergat (center) receives Ksh1 million dummy cheque at Serena Hotel on February 20, 2024. PHOTO/X (@CA_Kenya)

The 2023 Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) celebrations scheduled for March 1, this year at the iconic Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) will be unique in many ways.

This year’s edition will mark 20 years since legendary distance runner Paul Tergat conceived the noble idea of rewarding the country’s top performing sports personalities across all disciplines.

The theme of this year’s SOYA that has 11 categories is “Celebrating Sporting Excellence,” which resonates well with the milestones the country’s sportsmen and women have achieved over the decades.

Two decades ago, legendary Paralympian Henry Wanyoike and distance runner Catherine Ndereba were the inaugural Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year winners respectively.

Kenya Sevens rugby team, Shujaa won the Sports team of the Year (men) with the national women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers (women) claiming team of the awards. Brimin Kipruto (athletics) was declared the most promising sportsman as legendary Kipchoge Keino (athletics) was inducted to the Hall of Fame.

“In this edition of the soya awards, we are marking a major milestone of recognising, honouring and celebrating our sports personalities consistently for 20 years, a feat only possible with true friends and partners of soya and Kenyan sports. I salute you,” said Tergat during the launch of the 20th edition of SOYA yesterday at Serena Hotel.

Tergat said that 2023 witnessed some of the greatest performances across the board with special mention going to the Special Olympic athletes’ performances.

However, Tergat noted that this year’s SOYA will too celebrate the lives of some the Kenya’s accomplished sportsmen and women, who have passed on including marathon world record holder, Kelvin Kiptum, and former mufti-track world record holder, Henry Rono.

Kiptum and Rono are among the nominees that will be rewarded during the SOYA Gala.

“We once again convey our profound condolences to the families of the two and other sports personalities, who have left us in the last one year,” said Tergat.

Among the sponsors that have come on board to support the 2023 SOYA are the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), Kenya Pipeline Company (KPA), Kenya Academy of Sports (KAS) and Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA).

SOYA panel of selection chairman, Chris Mbaisi said during the launch that his panel has been hard at work and have covered a bit in terms of nominations. “It has not been easy considering the competition that was there last year but we will deliver on the best achievers,” said Mbaisi.

Mbaisi said that they have been forced to postpone the Gala in honour of the late Kiptum and Rono as he also conveyed his panel’s message of condolences.

Mbaisi is delighted to announce the return of the Schools Category that has a separate panel handling it.

Mbaisi noted the 2024 season will equally be competitive and laden with major championships.   

Mbaisi singled out the Paris Olympic Games scheduled from July 26 to August 11 and the Paris Paralympic Games planned from August 30 to September 8.

The sporting fraternity is also looking forward to the Africa Cross Country Championships scheduled for February 24 in Tunis, Tunisia followed by the World Indoor Athletics Championships on March 1 to 3 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The African Games will go down from March 8 to 23 in Accra, Ghana while the World Athletics Cross Country Championships will be held March 30 in Belgrade, Serbia.

 WRC Safari Rally will be held March 28 to 31 in Nairobi and Naivasha while the International Secondary Schools World Cross Country· are due for May 12 at the Ngong Racecourse.

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