As Kenya’s Olympics team prepared to leave for the ongoing Olympic Games in London, the country’s top mobile phone service provider Safaricom rose to the occasion and pledged tokens to outstanding performers. Now the company has turned to the Paralympians.
In a Wednesday ceremony attended by Kenya’s Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, the company promised to reward winners of gold medals KSh1 million (US$11,803) each.
At the same time, the silver and bronze medallists will each get KSh600,000 (US$ 7,082), while those participating will pocket KSh300,000 (US$ 3,541).
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka said: “You are going to represent Kenya, the entire nation will be relying on you and will be cheering wherever we will be.”
Collymore added that his company would continue motivating the team to ensure it performs better.
“This luncheon is meant to inspire and give determination and create a perception of no limitation. That’s why we are appreciating athletes as able bodied,” Collymore said.
He challenged Kenyans to accept the situation of the disabled and to show them love and support.
Team’s captain Henry Wanyoike expressed confidence in his squad of 14 saying they have prepared well and would perform better.
Kenya National Paralympics Committee chairman Jairus Ogola called upon more initiatives to tap and nurture talents across the nation.
“Our Wheelchair Basketball team didn’t have enough cash to support the sport. I would like to challenge stakeholders to step up and provide Kenyans with greater opportunities to participate in the Paralympics,” he said.
This is not the first time Safaricom shows its support for sports, in 2010 and 2011, the company sponsored talent search soccer tournaments across the country dubbed ‘Sakata Ball’ targeted at boys and girls. Close to KSh55 million (US$ 649,183) and KSh75 million (US$ 885,249) was used to organise the tourneys.
The paralympics team will depart for London on August 13 for one week training at Bristol camp, before proceeding to Olympic Village on August 22.
Paralympics competition kicks off on August 26 in London and the team is currently camping at Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani polishing up ahead of the London competition.