19 September 2012

Kenya: Stars' Pay Day

The 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games medallists harvested heavily for their hard work after receiving cash incentives from mobile services provider, Safaricom yesterday at a Nairobi hotel.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore forked out Sh17.2m to 10 medallists at the Olympic Games and six from the Paralympics Games.

Paralympian David Korir was the highest beneficiary during the awards as he took home Sh2.4m for winning two silver medals in the 1,500m and 800m T12 categories and surpassing the previous record in each. A silver medal attracted Sh600,000 with slicing the world record time attracting a similar amount.

Abraham Tarbei was second with a Sh2.3m cheque after winning a gold medal in the 1,500m T46 in a world record time and a bronze in the 800m T46. The 800m world record David Rudisha and 1,500m T11 gold medallist Samwel Mushai, who also broke the world record received Sh2m and so was his guide James Boit.

Two-time Olympics 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi was awarded Sh1m although in absentia for his gold medal feat. Veteran Paralympian Mary Nakhumicha received Sh1m for becoming the Dr. Whang Youn Dai Award winner and being chosen as the female athlete who exemplified the best spirit of the Paralympic Games despite not winning a medal in London.

Laurels Sportswoman of the Year Vivian Cheruiyot took home Sh900,000 for winning silver and bronze in the 5,000m and 10,000m respectively. Two-time world champion Abel Kirui, who won silver in the London Olympics marathon pocketed Sh600,000 and so was Priscah Jeptoo (silver in women's marathon) and Sally Kipyego (silver in women's 10,000m). Others who were awarded were bronze medallists Wilson Kipsang (marathon), Thomas Longosiwa (5000m), Timothy Kitum (800m) and Abel Mutai (3,000m steeplechase) who received Sh300,000 each.

The incentives programme started during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Collymore said they are keen on continuing with their financial support for athletics and other sports in the country. "We made our promise before they went (to London) and today we are really pleased to award them with Sh17m," said Collymore. "I think it is time we all got together to find out how we can take our sportsmen to the next level."

"At Safaraicom, we celebrate achievements and we are about success. These athletes achieved against the odds as they competed against their counterparts who had personal nutritionists, physiotherapists and psychologists. All our athletes were told is to go and run."

Kenya won two gold, four silver and five bronze medals at the London Olympics and managed two gold, two silver, and two bronze medals at the London Paralympics.

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