Safaricom’s chief executive Bob Collymore today awarded Sh17.2 million (US$204,762) in cash prizes to the country’s successful Olympians and Paralympians following Kenya’s exemplary performance at the respective games in London this summer.
The company was honouring its earlier promise to reward medal-winning performances.
Kenya bagged eleven medals at the London Olympics, including two for gold, four for silver and five for bronze, as well as six medals at the Paralympics, including two golds.
Safaricom had promised to award KSh1 million (US$12,000) to gold medallists, KSh600,000 (US$7,200) to silver medallists and Ksh300,000 (US$3,600) to bronze medal winners.
Those on the receiving end of the cash prizes included David Korir, who won Paralympic silver medals in the 1500 metre T12 and 800 metre T13 races and today received Sh2.4 million (US$28,571). Olympic champion and men’s 800 metre world record holder David Rudisha bagged Sh2m (US$23,810).
“We are delighted and this will inspire more of our athletes to work hard and perform for their nation,” said Rudisha.
Collymore spoke of his appreciation for what the successful athletes had achieved and promised that Safaricom would continue to play an active role in the development of sport in Kenya.
“I think it is time we all got together to find out how we can take our sportsmen to the next level,” he said. “We need to work together with athletics bodies, with government to invest in facilities and programmes that help us develop strenth in a wide range of athletics events.”
This is not be the first time that Safaricom has shown its support for sports. In 2010 and 2012 the company sponsored talent search soccer tournaments, dubbed ‘Sakata Ball’, across the country. Close to KSh55 million (US$649,183) and KSh75 million (US$885,249) was spent to fund the respective tournaments.
Recently, the telecommunications giant paid KSh7 million (US$84,000) to sponsor the annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards. This is the ninth time in a row that Safaricom has sponsored the awards, which recognise excellence in sporting disciplines.
The theme for this year’s awards is “Blazing a generation securing Peace”, chosen to recognise outstanding athletes and encourage young people to positively participate in national development.
The company is also the main sponsor of this year’s Safaricom Sevens (Safaricom 7’s) rugby tournament set for September 21-23, Africa’s premier rugby sevens tournament, drawing crowds of over 20,000 to the weekend event.
The company is carrying out an online rugby game ahead of the competition, where users create a virtual team with pictures based on the Kenyan rugby team, brand the team with a name and badge and call on their friends to vote on the squad they create. The owners of the virtual teams with the most votes will win prizes.