SAFARICOM REWARDS KENYA’S OLYMPIC MEDALISTS,
by Justin Lagat
This week, not only did the leading mobile phone service provider, Safaricom,
honored their promise to reward Kenya’s Olympic medalists. It did more than that,
however, by rewarding Mary Nakhumicha with one million Kenyan shillings for winning the Dr. Whang Youn Dai Award alongside Ireland’s Michael Mckillop, for exemplifying the spirit of the Paralympics Games, and James Boit with a surprising two million shillings (approx. 23,810 US dollars) for guiding Samuel Muchai in breaking the world record in the 1500m T11 race category.
Safaricom gave out a total of Ksh. 17.2 million to 16 athletes, who participated both in the Olympics and in the Paralympics Games, and one guide. One million shillings for a gold medalist and the same for a new record, 600,000 for a silver medalist and 300,000 for a bronze medalist.
David Korir, who ran in the T13 category in the 1500m and the 800m events, was
the athlete who went home with the highest amount, 2.4 million shillings,
having won medals in the 1500m and 800m events and breaking two records.
Abraham Tarbei followed, having won a gold medal in the 1500m in a world
record and a bronze medal in the 800m.
Kenya’s Olympic team captain, David Rudisha, walked away with two million shillings for winning the 800m and breaking a world record. Samuel Muchai and his running partner, James Boit, were also rewarded with the same amount each, having won a gold medal in the 1500m T11 and setting a new world record. It was perhaps the first time a guide was rewarded with the same amount as that of the athlete he was assisting.
Ezekiel Kemboi, who won a gold medal in the 3000m steeple chase, was awarded a million shillings, the same amount to Mary Nakhumicha, who participated in the javelin, discus and shotput F57. Those who received Ksh 600,000 for silver medals were Abel Kirui, Vivian Cheruiyot, Priscah Jeptoo and Sally Kipyego. The bronze medalists who earned Ksh. 300,000 each were Wilson Kipsang, Thomas Longosiwa, Timothy Kitum and Abel Mutai.
The Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore, during the event, congratulated Team Kenya for their wonderful performance at the games adding that it was a tough competition and that the athletes did their best. He also expressed his desire to work with the sport’s governing bodies in the country and the government in order to fund the development of the sprints and the shorter races in the country before the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
Safaricom has always been at the front line in sponsoring a number of 10km road races across the country that have helped in the discovery of new talents in long distance running. The company also partners with other corporations in sponsoring bigger events, like the annual Kass FM International Marathon in Eldoret, among others.
All these, coupled with its being a lead sponsor in the veteran athlete Paul Tergat’s
Sport’s person Of the Year Awards (SOYA) foundation, the company is indeed doing a great service to the running community in Kenya. Its initiative to work with the government in improving training facilities and getting qualified trainers for
the short races before the 2016 Olympics is laudable, and we should hope to see
positive results at the Games.
From the bottom of my heart, I feel grateful to Safaricom for putting its resources to the running sport in the country.