The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) has hailed President William Ruto’s government announcement of a new reward scheme to athletes as the country looks to ensure those who perform well are appreciated handsomely.
According to NOCK Secretary General Francis Mutuku, the new move is a game changer aimed at spurring growth and development of the game ahead Paris Olympics set for next year 2024.
“The cash awards scheme introduced by the government gives excellent ground for Olympics preparation and participation.
Sports is professional, and in a generation that supports artistry, now more than before, there are more and more young people taking sports as their profession” he wrote in his weekly Sunday column in a local daily
On Thursday, Sports Principal Secretary Eng. Peter Tum revealed the government has been working on a policy that will see all top achievers get rewarded, commensurate to the amount of work they have put in to raise the country’s flag high.
“We are introducing cash awards and it is something they (athletes) will be happy about. We have been working on a policy that must work towards improving their allowances. This group will be paid well as we work towards implementing this policy,” remarked Tum
On Friday, President Ruto presided over a ceremony in Nairobi where athletes who recently excelled in international competitions were gifted hefty cash awards in an improved state reward scheme
This follows Kenya’s heroic showing at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary where they finished the competition in position five globally, topping the African chart after bagging 10 medals; three gold, three silver and three bronze medals.
Among those who were feted include double world champion Faith Kipyegon and World 800 metres gold medallist Mary Moraa.Kipyegon pocketed Sh4m — Sh2m for her victory in 5,000m and a similar amount for claiming gold in 1,500m, while Moraa got a Sh2m reward.
Previously a gold, silver and bronze medallist in Olympics was awarded Sh750,000, Sh500,000 and Sh350,000 respectively. This has been revised to Sh3 million, Sh2 million and Sh1 million respectively. Olympics, Paralympics, Special Olympics and Deaflympics have been put at the highest level and fall in this category
In July this year,Mutuku in a meeting with the Sports and Culture Committee to deliberate on the preparedness of Team Kenya ahead of the Games said he expects Kenya to take a team of 100 athletes to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.