Kenya: Juniors Rewarded as Kenya Celebrates Olympic Day

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) Tuesday named winners of its arts and essay writing contests that highlighted Kenya's celebration of the Olympic Day.

Nairobi County's Ridhi Somaiya (girls' division) and Abizer Khanbai (boys' division) won the arts competition organised for children aged between six and 13 years while in essay writing, Nairobi also took the top prize in the mixed category through Sandra Hawi Awuor who topped an all-girls podium.

The essay contest, organised by NOC-K in partnership with lecturers from Kenyatta University's Linguistics and Arts Departments, was open to children aged between 14 and 18 under the theme "My Olympic Dream."

The top three contestants will be awarded gift vouchers, an Olympic gift bag and certificate with their winning to be showcased at the NOC-K offices and published in the "Team Kenya" athletes' handbook of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Meanwhile, NOC-K Tuesday activated a "Get into Running Kenya" campaign to also celebrate the Olympic Day.

The two-week campaign - running from yesterday to July 5 - involves individuals competing virtually by running individually and posting their best times over five, 10 or 21-kilometre distances.

"This is in line with the global Olympic Day objectives this year to stay active, stay strong and stay healthy," NOC-K secretary general Francis Mutuku said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The campaign seeks to increase participation in sport and encourage everyone to improve their personal best, which is in line with one of NOC-K's strategic priority, to increase participation in sport across all ages and backgrounds and promote a healthy nation.

"Running is cheap and easy, everyone can do it. It doesn't require a ton of equipment. All you need is a pair of shoes, shorts and a t-shirt and you are good to go. We cannot say this about many of the other sports or workouts, that is why we picked a running campaign," Mutuku implored in the statement.

"Participants can share their times to NOC-K through any preferred social media with the hashtags #GetIntoRunning #StayActiveKe and #PersonalBest.

A grading system will be provided for the times posted that will allow a listing of all participants," he explained.

To celebrate the Olympic Day globally on Tuesday, Olympic stars - including Kenya's track star Faith Chepng'etich Kipyegon and sevens rugby legend Humphrey Kayange - were leading virtual home work-out sessions to celebrate the 126th anniversary of the International Olympic Committee.

In Ethiopia, the country's track stars led the celebrations in Addis Ababa featuring, among others, under-20 world and Africa 5,000 metres champion Selemon Barega.

"The day was celebrated with various activities such as sharing food, tree planting and an exhibition run," said Haileegziabher Adhanon, the "Voice of Ethiopian Athletics," currently sports writer and Managing Editor of Ethiopian sports website iyusport.com told Nation Sport from Addis.

Separately, over 60 former and current Ethiopian athletes, coaches, managers and administrators donated blood en masse to the national blood bank in a campaign organised by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation.

"This noble act shows once again that Ethiopian athletes are champions beyond the tracks. It also demonstrates their humility," added Adhanon.

Results of the Olympic Day contests aimed at promoting the ideals of Olympism to young Kenyans:

Essay competition (14-18 years old):

1. Sandra Hawi Awuor (Nairobi County)

2. Shirleen Wanjiku (Muranga County)

3. Monica Wanjiku Ngugi (Nyeri County)

Arts competition (6-13 years old):

Girls:

1. Ridhi Somaiya (Nairobi County)

2. Dhara Vishaal (Kisumu County)

3. Pasha Haria (Nairobi County)

Boys:

1. Abizer Khanbai (Nairobi County)

2. Benji Mkenya (Narok County)

3. Alfie Lino (Nairobi County)

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