The biggest sports event (outside the fields and tracks) was the gala night hosted by the FineTouch Communications -sports marketing organization -Paul Tergat's brainchild which has managed the event since inception.
The event attracted the biggest gathering of sports personalities from across the spectrum. From the rich and famous (sportsmen in Kenya do easily fall into that category) to the retired and flourishing. Kipchoge Keino, John Velzian, Francis Kimanzi, Bob Munro, Injera brothers, Jacob Mulee, William Sigei, Martin Keino, Elenah Shiveka, Richard Omwela, David Makali, German ambassador,Samuel Poghisio are but some of the names on the roll who I managed to mingle with.
MCs for the night were Robert Soi-sports editor KTN and Torome Tirike-sports editor Citizen. I thought there was some imbalance since both were men though the former was in the night's dress code-tie and black suit while Torome was in dressed as a Maasai moran. A lady would have made more sense and balanced out the equation-Everlyn Watta-Nation Media Group or even Citizen's Jasmine Martin maybe.
- the turnout by most sports associations/federations, officials and personalities was impressive. Its the only forum they meet outside their respective competitive disciplines.
- media stations were also well -represented and with KBC covering the event live ( for once there were no hitches from their broadcast-though I'm made to understand they had contracted a media practitioner to provide clips which were used intermittently in the event). They may have hogged most the roles like MCs and judges but that's fair enough for now.
- Sponsors came in a bigger way than last year (even as most companies keep making excuses about the economic state). Safaricom, KBC, Brand Kenya, Kenya Wildlife Services, Nokia Siemens, Multi-Choice, Postal Corporation of Kenya, Nairobi Bottlers (Coca-Cola) and Sarova Hotels were the toast of town on the night. Gina Din Communications (they always get the big jobs...huh ?) were the PR managers for the day.
- Sarakasi dancers had an interesting dance representing the different disciplines and they gave a good intro to the event. Their performance using ‘Chariots of Fire’ –theme song for 1984 Olympic Games –Los Angeles was a great theme for the night.
- Time-keeping. I have attended Kenyan events and this one was quite on point with the day's roster. Everything ran like clockwork. Even with the catering, this distracts most people, impressive! I made 2 trips to the desert table-I digress.
-security was tight and no losses were reported or ugly incidences as happens at some sporting events in the country.
-Govt representatives- led by the VP the GoK has come to acknowledge the need to support sports and sports men. Figures indicate a kitty of KShs.100m has so far been presented as prize money by the Government. Money well spent methinks
- A media friend was almost missing out on the event after missing out on the invitations list. Thanks to a staffer from FineTouch Communications who ironed out the issue.
- some of the music played for the night was not authentic (reflective of Kenyan musical prowess). There was a sense of repetition especially while doing the presentations. The bands can work on that.
- cameramen- they almost held some athletes ransom demanding shots at awkward positions. The frequent guidance from Robert Soi made sure they didn't interfere with the day's proceedings.
- Samuel Wanjiru’s gaffe when he couldn’t remember the ex-VP’s name. The athlete though was proud of the efforts made in recognizing Kenyan sportsmen and asked for more patriotism- let’s not wait for Obama who made his way up.
-Kenyan football officials- Harambee Stars was presented with the Team of the Year- 1st Runner-Up. None of the feuding factions could legitimately collect the trophy prompting Soi to ask Francis Kimanzi to collect with the crowd applauding him for the achievements. (I’d spotted Mr. Nyamweya-KFF but he was a tad bit late).
-nothing out of this world happened, crowning a great night for the sporting fraternity in Kenya.
1. Sports Personality of the Year –Male- Samuel Wanjiru-athletics
2. Sports Personality of the Year- Female- Pamela Jelimo- athletics
3. Sports Team of the Year- Female- Prisons volleyball team
4. Sports Team of the Year -Male- Rugby Sevens team
5. Sports Federation/Association of the Year- Kenya Rugby Football Union
6. Coach of the Year- Julius Kirwa
7. Most Promising Sports person- female- Achieng Ajulu- swimming
8. Most Promising Sports person- male- Josphat Bett-athletics
9. Special Category:
Most outstanding sports person-male- Henry K. Kirwa- athletics(paralympian)
Most outstanding sports person-female- Mary Namuwinja-athletics(paralympian)
10. Community Hero- Juma Abdalla Kent-basketball
11. Hall of Famer:- Jonathan Niva- football