Ethiopian great Haile confirmed as 2016 Soya chief guest

Ethiopian great Haile confirmed as 2016 Soya chief guest

Retired Ethiopian distance track and road racing legend Haile Gebrselassie has been confirmed as the chief international guest for Thursday’s Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year gala in Nairobi.

Soya Dr. Paul Tergat announced Haile will arrive for the 13th edition of the awards as he thanked all sponsors of the gala for their support as the country prepares to celebrate the sporting personalities who excelled last year across various disciplines.

“I’m happy that my friend and long-time rival on the track and now President of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF), Mr. Haile, has indicated enthusiasm in gracing SOYA as our celebrity guest.

“I believe his presence will inspire many sports personalities and enthusiasts,” the elated Tergat noted.

Haile was voted the EAF president in November slightly a year after ending a glittering career that churned 27 world records across various distances including succeeding Tergat as the standard bearer in the marathon when he ran 2:04:24 in Berlin in 2007.

“Support for an initiative such as this not only inspires greatness but propels budding sports athletes towards attaining their dreams,” Tergat added.

“Sports unify people and as Kenyans, we should espouse this avenue to promote oneness in diversity. We will continue to invest in sports and are glad to be partnering with 11 corporates in hosting this great occasion,” Tergat said on sponsors.

Speaking on behalf of the Secretariat, Kaplich Barsito noted that, supporting sports as part of the organization’s CSR activities has provided a platform to cultivate our sports on the global map as the hub of sports icons.

“We are honoured to have great organizations associate with SOYA in recognizing sports personalities who despite facing a myriad of challenges, have time and time again performed in an exemplary manner and have hoisted high the Kenyan flag.

“Our athletes continue to be the country’s greatest brand ambassadors and we applaud them for this,” Barsito underscored.

“The theme, Inspiring Greatness, resonates well with the season and times of Kenyan sports,” the chairman of the Soya Panel of Judges Watson Karuma emphasised.

“As Dr. Tergat intimated, awarding the nominees motivates all our sports personalities to keep a spirited fight to remain the best, paying careful attention not to fall by the way side,” Karuma added.

The veteran sports television journalist and editor at NTV urged sportspersons to shun doping with the country in the middle of a crisis that has seen it placed on the World Anti-Doping Agency shortlist.

“Stay clean, say no to drugs and play clean,” Karuma emphasised.

This year’s gala will be held on Thursday, 19th January, 2017 at the KICC and is sponsored by Safaricom Limited, Lotto Foundation, Supersport and Multichoice Kenya, Communications Authority of Kenya, Vivienne Taa, National Hospital Insurance Fund, Kenya Tourism Board, National Social Security Fund and Kenya Pipeline Corporation.

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