Cash incentives continue to trickle in for the Kenyan team to the 2012 London Olympics as mobile phone service provider, Safaricom announced a Sh10m package for the team. The scheme will see the company present Sh1m to gold medallists, Sh600, 000 to silver medallists and Sh300, 000 to bronze medallists.
While announcing the good news at a send-off dinner for the athletes, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore revealed that if athletes make a clean sweep at the podium, then they will be entitled to Sh1m each. The company also presented the contingent with Samsung Galaxy Pocket and airtime worth Sh10,000 each. "This team carries our individual and national dreams and aspirations for a brighter, more optimistic future and this is what we as Safaricom are here to celebrate," said Collymore.
During the last edition of the games held in Beijing, China in 2008, Safaricom presented gold medallists with Sh750,000, silver medallists (Sh500,000) and bronze medalists (Sh250,000).
While thanking the sponsors for the gesture, team captain, world record holder and world champion David Rudisha revealed that the team is in high spirits and focused on London Games. "We are harbouring a lot of hopes and all the athletes look very determined," said Rudisha. "It's one of the best teams that Kenya has ever had and we promise we are going to do out best. We know we are few but we carry the hopes of the whole nation."
He, however, he challenged Safaricom and like-minded sponsors to venture into the grassroots where he reckoned there are a lot of talented athletes who lack the support to flourish. "When I started running in school, I was doing 200m and 400m but was advised by my coach to shift 800m which fortunately worked well for me," said Rudisha. "There are other athletes who are very good, especially sprinters but who lack the support to exploit their talents."
Minister for sports Paul Otuoma said Safaricom's gesture was one to be admired by every Kenyan and wished them well in their endeavours. "This kind of support is what motivates our athletes to perform well and bring the medals home," said Otuoma. "We are hopeful that this team will be victorious in ensuring that our flag continues to fly high."