17 May 2017

Kenya: Safaricom Gives Sh65m to Annual Athletics Series

Photo: Martin Mukangu/The Nation
Safaricom Director for Regional Sales and Operations Steve Okeyo signs a dummy cheque of Sh65 million sponsorship to this year's Safaricom Athletics Series on May 17, 2017. Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei looks on.

Safaricom Limited will soon unveil a grand sponsorship of over Sh100 million for the IAAF World Under-18 Championships.

The communication firm's regional director for sales and operations Steve Okeyo disclosed yesterday that the package will also cover the youth championships trials on June 13 and 14 in Nairobi.

Okeyo was speaking before unveiling a sponsorship of Sh65 million for fifth edition of Safaricom Athletics Series at Safaricom House.

He disclosed that they will also separately fund the national trials for the World Championships on June 22 and 24 at the Nyayo National Stadium to the tune of over Sh20 million. The World Championships will be held from August 4 to 13 in London with the World Under-18 Championships will run from July 12 to 18 in Nairobi.

Safaricom sponsored last year's athletics series to the tune is Sh80 million but Okeyo said the drop of the package this year is due to the fact that they will back both the series and the national trials separately.

"Our sponsorship of the IAAF World Under-18 Championships is testament to our belief in the wealth of sporting talent we have among our youth," Okeyo said while handing over the series sponsorship cheque to Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei.

"We see an opportunity for more young people to get involved in sports and create great careers out of their involvement, and we are determined to provide and support platforms that provide such opportunities."

Okeyo said the return of the Series signified the company's continued commitment to supporting the identification and nurturing of sporting talent across the country.

The Series will feature a line-up of nine long distance races and three track and field events, bringing the total to 12 events. For the first time, free medical camps will be held alongside these events.

"We have seen the powerful role that sports plays in uniting Kenyans, uplifting families and creating careers. Many of the current generation of athletics stars have participated in the Safaricom Athletics Series," said Okeyo, who singled out Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto and World 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett.

Okeyo said Safaricom will work together with organisations such as Athletics Kenya and the Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya among others to ensure that Kenya continues to be recognised as the home of athletics champions.

Tuwei commended Safricom's gesture asking that they have not only produced and nurtured talent transformed lives with good prize money for winners.

One race under the banner of the Safaricom Athletics Series, the Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon, took place in Meru last weekend, where Peter Toroitich and Juster Kwamesa won the men and women's races respectively.

The next race on the calendar is the Safaricom National Deaf Athletics Championships due May 23-24 in Uasin Gishu.

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