Friday, 30 October 2009

Usain Bolt :- Athletics' biggest star finally lands

Usain Bolt during an interview with renowned Kenyan TV personality and K24 anchor, Jeff Koinange - on his bench.

Finally he's landed. After reporting this first ( with a threat from a few guys who thought we were pulling their legs), Usain's in town for the next 4 days for a couple of engagements relating to charities in the country and indeed the region.
He comes under Puma's charitable works which include Zeitz Foundation; started by Puma's billionaire Jochen Zeitz, which aims to work towards developing an eco-tourism site in Laikipia which is about 150 km North of Nairobi.
Tonight he is scheduled to attend a dinner at an invitations only event which is most likely to have the who's who in the Kenyan public and private sector circles. Too bad yours truly may not have access to these trappings of the 'esteemed' in our society. We shall keep you posted on snippets of his trip as usual and follow him on Twitter (like we are) here !

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Football: Sofapaka gets KSh. 12 million sponsorship from East Africa Portland

The new darlings of Kenyan football, Sofapaka are currently unveiling a KSh. 12 million sponsorship package from East African Portland Cement Co. The club's name stands for SOTE (kama) FAmilia (kwa) PAmoja Kuafikia Azimio and is one of the few clubs with steady membership. It's website has some interesting insights, though not regularly updated.The club which got promotion last season to the Kenya Premier League-KPL are currently leading the standings and look set to win the title if they win at least 2 of the remaining games has made a sterling performance in this year's games.
The club has been enjoying support from one Elly M. Kalekwa. The club's management includes Granton Samboja -chairman - he of the Milele FM - media company and prominent radio personality.
This sponsorship will see the club's financial commitments receive a major boost if they are to continue with the challenge for continental honours if they win the KPL. They may also receive a boon for purchase of talented local players as the League continues making headways into professionalism. A plus for Kenyan football and indeed Kenyan sport !

Monday, 26 October 2009

Word has it Usain Bolt will be in Nairobi

Ear on the ground says Usain Bolt maybe in town for a humanitarian and charity visit. According to (Bolt endorses Puma shoes for his track prowess),the 'phenomenon'who has been the best thing to happen on the athletics field in the recent past is expected in the country on Thursday...more details later. Check his rather interesting link here. You can also read about his publicist who makes sure we all get to know about his exploits here.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Moses Kigen wins the 2009 StanChart marathon as Irene Jerotich makes her 2nd marathon title

Moses Kigen (middle) flanked by Peter Sitienei(left) and Nathan Naibei(right).
Yes It Is ! Moses Kigen is the new Nairobi Standard Chartered Marathon keeping the trend of a new winner in the last 7 editions of the event. He slashed some 12 seconds off last year's course record to finish at 2hr10min 12 sec. He was followed home by Nathan Naibei who had held the lead for sometime before appearing to burn out.
Peter K Sitienei rounded up the top 3 at 2hrs 11min 32 sec.
In the ladies event, Irene Jerotich won the event for a second time (first winning it in 2006 and coming second last year). She posted a modest time of 2hr28min 58sec.
Alice Chelangat and Sharon Jemutai were 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Each of the winners in the main marathon took home KSh. 1.5m, 2nd place - KSh.0.65m and 3rd place KSh.0.35m.
The half-marathon had the men missing the mark by a minute to lower it to less than an hour. Ernest Kiprugut won it with a time of 1hr 1min 18sec. Prize money KSh.0.15m.The event attracted 13,500 enthusiasts and competitors alike. They braved the cold morning conditions and also the shower that almost threatened to ruin a fairly well organised event.

Here's a sample of the day's happenings.

Nairobi StanChart Marathon : Updates

The minor races have just been completed with none of the reigning champions taking back their titles. The trend of a new winner in the 21km and 10km races continues. An interesting winner though was the 42km wheelchair which had a familiar face in sporting circles one Ibrahim Wafula winning the 6 digit prize money. More updates and uploads of photos later...

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Nairobi Marathon - Standard Chartered is all set for all you marathon enthusiasts

The 7th edition of the Standard Chartered-sponsored Nairobi Marathon is set to go. As of the time of writing the article , 13,500 athletes had registered for the race. This is a shortfall of 1500 which the Bank had targeted. Maybe the late registration fee of KSh. 500 seems to have put off applicants most of whom are in it for fun and who usually wait till the last minute to register.
135 elite runners are in the 42 km full marathon with 86 of these being male runners and the female race attracting 49 runners. A total of 42 nations are represented in the race with the number of foreign runners being 194 in total. This is a fair number which gives the race some great coverage and truly paints the city in blue and green colours of the Bank.
The most favourite race the 10km (which yours truly ought to be participating in) has majority of the registered ones with 6,000 registrations. With most city roads being closed, as usual Nairobians will be treated to another day of running and fun for a Sunday.
We shall be reporting from the venue live and will bring you moments of the event, from the early morning activities to the actual races and the after-events.

EABL: Tough choices, what is happening?

After severing what was their major sports events, it seems there is some imbroglio at one of Kenya's biggest corporate firms. East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL as it were ) have seen their sports sponsorship diminish in the last one year and their influence in sport come to a mere trickle.From the controversial Tusker Athletics meet (which wanted to model around the Grand Prix events of Europe) to the more recent Sevens withdrawal, a major shift has been in the making. We cannot not speculate here what informs some the decisions but it raises issues. Tusker Sports-the sports marketing arm of EABL has reduced drastically its influence in sports. If you believed so much in a sport, what would be so bad for the abrupt withdrawal?
Secondly, what informs a sponsorship decision? This comes especially with regards to the athletics meet. This ought to have been a soft drink or health drink at that. The best EABL would have done is use Alvaro which again has seen a decline in market share with the entry of Novida from Coca-Cola.
Third, it seems with the change of management, there are a few feathers to ruffle. Mahinda departure has seen some fairly controversial decisions not just relating to sports but even in the region. Price changes (increases at a time when your consumers are really squeezed for cash), partnership disputes ( the Tanzania Breweries and Serengeti 'politics'), to a lackluster reality show in the name of Tusker Project Fame (which some named Tusker Project Shame).
Branding gurus who engage in valuation of the brands will show the figures at the end of the year and if not wrong, some of the EABL brands will see a decline in their size and influence. Maybe it's the lull before a storm, maybe there is something brewing, just maybe !

Rugby : Safaricom spices things a little more in sports

After a shocked earlier this month when EABL withdrew from the rugby circles in a huff, another premiere corporate grabbed onto the opportunity and has made a serious commitment to the Sevens tournament and the sport in general.
First comes the Ksh. 25 million for next year's 7s - KSh. 22 million for the tournament proper and KSh. 3 million for setting up the media center. A concern was whether they would sign the contract for more than 1 year which they did confirming a 3-year deal and the incremental factor after every year.

Another interesting aspect is the involvement of Safaricom Foundation which is the Corporate Social Responsibility (sic) arm of Safaricom Limited. The foundation in consultation with KRFU will seek to upgrade the grounds at the RFUEA to international standards. Now that ought to take serious consideration but if they make true their promise, application to the IRB Sevens Circuit can be made in earnest.
The other interesting thing with KRFU seems to be having local companies raise the stakes in sponsoring local sports which is a big boon to sport. The trickle-down effect to the players and the local league is something that will help enhance and encourage our boys to play their hearts out.
Given rugby 7s entry into the Olympic circles, we can only roll up our sleeves and let some serious work start if we shall challenge for the podium. Let the games begin...!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Wanjiru's Win Crowns a Great Week for Sports in Kenya

For the typical sporting enthusiast in Kenya, (minus the Kenyan football fans of course) it has been positive news.
First off is the inclusion of rugby in the 2016 Olympics to be held in Brazil ( the other addition being golf. The sport has seen phenomenal growth in the last 16 years since the IRB sanctioned the Rugby Sevens Series. Our team has featured actively since the early 2000s and has in the last two seasons seen outstanding performance causing this and that upset along the way. They even made it to the semi-finals of the 7s World Cup in Dubai last year.
Our second high point is the win of Samuel Wanjiru at the Chicago Marathon. His has been a meteoric rise into the world of athletics and marathon for that matter. He rose to fame last year after winning the one gold medal that had been eluding famous Kenyan runners. He also recorded a win in this year's London marathon and he crowned his year with this win. Along with it is the booty reportedly first $250,000(appearance), $100,000(for win) and $75,000 ( for setting the course record,which he interestingly slushed just a second....)
Truly a great week!

Friday, 2 October 2009

EABL severs rugby relations with final knock off Safari 7s

It's some of the news you don't want to hear or if your do you don't want to believe. How do you just wake up one day and decide to end such a lucrative and recognised events this side of the world?
I'd say it will be one of the worst corporate blunders of the year. I'm really hoping there is some rationale to this but you don't lose 13 years heritage and just say it's a 'business decision'. The Union I suspect may also have sent out feelers before finally severing their relationship with Tusker.
The bad blood started in May and the journey's come to an end. A quick check tells me there maybe a number of corporate firms willing to take up the sponsorship but there will be no brand close enough to what Tusker got to. It will also not be possible for the Union to cut a medium to long-term deal.
It's my hope that someone can prove me wrong, but we might see another of our sports events brand start going down the drain. Remember the Safari Rally without Marlboro?