LG Electronics East Africa has announced a new one-year sponsorship deal for the Sports Personality of the Month Award (SPOM) through to December 2022.
The renewal comes as LG and Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) celebrate seven years since the electronics appliance giant first partnered with the sports scribes body in 2015.
During the launch ceremony held on Thursday at LG’s Brand shop in Nairobi, tennis sensational Angela Okutoyi was named the January winner while rally driver youngster MacRae Kimathi was feted as February finest.
Okutoyi speaking on zoom said: “January was such a good month for Kenyan Tennis and myself after I won a match at the Australian Grand Slam. We have come from far and I am proud to have lifted the Kenyan flag high,” said Okutoyi through a recorded video from Morocco.
McRae on his part said: “The award goes a long way in motivating young and upcoming sports personalities to realise their potential in sport. It also fuels one’s passion to give more to the sport.”
“I now feel motivated ahead of my busy calendar starting with Croatia Rally where I will compete in the Junior WRC, Pearl of Uganda, ARC Equator Rally and round up with the WRC Safari Rally,” MacRae, who was flanked by his dad Phineas, a retired Rally driver said.
Speaking while awarding the winners, LG Marketing Director, Changhyun Kim, said the partnership has over the years boosted players’ morale and maintained interest in sports across the country.
“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to support SJAK and top tier sports personalities over the last seven years. Within this period, we managed to reward many of the said personalities and empower them in their journey to the top,” Said Kim.
“This year, we think it is wise that we expand this support to sports enthusiasts in our communities and institutions of learning as a way to support and inspire upcoming sports giants across diverse disciplines. We are investing at least Ksh.6.6 million and banking on your support to achieve this at least every quarter,” Kim announced.
He added, “As we renew our commitment once again, we are determined to make sports more appealing to current and budding players across the country. This, even as it continues being an essential vehicle for socio-economic transformation.”
On his part, SJAK President Chris Mbaisi thanked LG for their unswerving support saying the partnership has gone a long way in motivating athletes to do well for the country.
“For the last seven years LG has demonstrated their support for sports, both on and off the pitch. And together we share an ambition of creating opportunities at all levels and ensuring every aspiring athlete enjoys an enabling environment. We look forward to further developing our relationship over the coming years,” Mbaisi stated.
-Okutoyi, MacRae the best-
For being crowned January and February winners, Okutoyi received an LG Artificially Intelligent washing machine while Kimathi was awarded with a refrigerator.
Rising tennis star Okutoyi scooped the award after beating three other nominees in Daniel Simiyu, who won the Valencia 10k, Shujaa’s Vincent Onyala and middle-distance runner Norah Jeruto.
On the other hand, Junior WRC star Kimathi won the February award after becoming the first event Kenya to finish a rally on snow on WRC Sweden.
He finished the WRC3 category in a credible third and fourth in Junior WRC.
He beat Ferdinand Omanyala, who broke the men’s 60m dash national record, Milton Ilakhuya who was the top points scorer for Kenya at the wheelchair basketball World Cup qualifiers where they won the Africa bronze.
Another nominee was Lavender Zawadi who was Kenya’s best performer at the Catchball World Championship qualifiers in Israel where Kenya qualified for Portugal in June.
Hellen Obiri was also a nominee for the month of February for finishing second in the RAK Half Marathon in a fifth fastest time of 64:22 and Collins Kipruto for his 1500m win at Muller and 800m at the Meeting de l’Eure in Val-de-Reuil in France.
So far, the SPOM has awarded 12 athletes including world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, basketballer Tylor Onwae Okari, Olympics marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir and Hit Squad boxer Elly Ajowi.–