There is no doubt that Kenyan sportsmen are the country’s best ambassadors abroad

There is no doubt that Kenyan sportsmen are the country’s best ambassadors abroad

 

The belting out of the national anthem as our athletes win gold at international events provide some of the proudest moments for any patriotic Kenyan. People from across the globe always join.

However, for long there was no reward system to appreciate their achievements and the glory they bring to the country.

The national rugby team and our volleyball queens, among others, have also done the country proud as have been footballers doing their trade in some of the world’s top leagues. McDonald Mariga, Dennis Oliench and Victor Wanyama are only but the most noticeable ones.

Because the country in the past failed to appreciate them, some got dejected and defected to other countries such as Qatar.

However, this changes in 2013 when President Uhuru Kenyatta put in place a reward system. It begun with the national sevens rugby team, which was feted for its exploits  at the Sevens Rugby World Cup in Russia and given Sh1.7 million.

 Kenya 15s team was also not left behind with the President giving them Sh2.9 million for winning the Confederation of Africa Rugby (CAR) Africa Cup in Madagascar after beating Zimbabwe 29-17 in the final.

 

He repeated the same in 2016 when he gave the sevens rugby team Sh10 million for their historic Main Cup victory in Singapore. He also settled all their dues.

Kenya had pulled off a stunning 30-7 victory over defending champions and series leaders Fiji to claim their first ever World Sevens Series title in the eighth leg of the 2015/2016 HSBC World Sevens Series.

Despite the organisation debacle that marred their preparations, athletics team to last year’s Rio Olympics was also not left behind after a sterling performance with each gold medal winner getting Sh1 million.

Kenya won six Gold, six Silver and a Bronze medal to register its best performance in the history of the Olympic games and cement Kenya’s position as a global athletics superpower.

After the Under 18 IAAF World Champions held at Kasarani last month, the juniors were also given Sh7.4 million, translating to Sh100,000 each of the 42 athletes and 32 officials and topped it up with a holiday trip to the Coast.

In addition, the government will issue all students in the group with school fees and scholarships.

As the President noted after the Rio Olympics debacle, there is need to address the institutional, policy and administrative failures have compelled Kenyans over the years to seek opportunity by representing other countries.

However, efforts already made in this regard are a sure way to ensure Kenya does not continue to bleed its talent to other countries.

Apart from the reward system, the government has also upgraded and rehabilitated Kisumu Moi Stadium, Mombasa Municipal Stadium and Uasin Gishu Kipchoge Keino Stadium.

In addition, it has established a Ksh100 million National Sports Fund and set up Kenya’s first international sports academy.

While this is work in progress, there is no doubt that the Jubilee government is on the right track in bettering sporting conditions in the country.

Apart from our prowess on the track, the success of javelin thrower Julius Yego has also shown that with the right set up, Kenya can also excell in field events.

In the next five years, Jubilee has undertaken to continue to provide and improve sports facilities by finalising the construction of three major new stadia in Nairobi, Mombasa and Eldoret along with the Kenya Academy of Sports.

It will also seek to, among others, encourage and support national football clubs, invest in setting up youth teams and provide the sporting facilities required to nurture and develop young talent.

By Miriam Mghongo