Nairobi — World Marathon record holder Paul Tergat yesterday launched his foundation aimed at promoting sports.
To set the ball rolling, Sameer Africa donated Sh300,000 towards the Paul Tergat Foundation during a function at a Nairobi hotel attended by leading local athletes.
Sameer Africa chairman Naushad Merali said: "I am sure we have all seen our local sports personalities develop their talents locally, display superior performances internationally and eventually get attracted to other countries offering better rewards. This affects Kenya's pool of sporting talent and compromises further development of each sport," he said.
He urged the private sector to invest in Kenyan sports and develop the country's sports men and women. "Sports is big business worldwide but it is mainly driven by private sector participation. This is not only through sponsorships but also through active investment in the development of sports."
He said his company as a corporate outfit recognised the great sporting potential of young Kenyans in athletics, volleyball, rugby, hockey and cricket among others. He however, expressed his disappointment with the rate at which Kenyan athletes are getting poached by richer countries.
Tergat, who is also a goodwill ambassador for the World Food Programme, said the foundation targeted the next generation of sports people.
"We shall support children and groups from extremely disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds such as the marginalised rural communities and urban slum dwellers to acquire life supporting skills and nutritional support. He said the foundation was borne out of his conviction that society was enriched by the development of the potential found in its people.
"This untapped potential must not only be identified and encouraged but should also be made to flourish through the availing of facilities and resources."
He added: "As the holy scriptures say, 'for whoever much is given, much is expected,' it is, therefore, my duty and privilege to help in any small way in giving back to society."
Tergat will be one of the star attactions in the New York Marathon on November 6.