Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge deserves the title of Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year (SOYA), but it is the revival of the Tennis Brotherhood that has impressed the industry.
The sport won eight of the 48 offered trophies in the categories of schools, seniors, juniors, wheelchair users, teams and coaches.
Rosemary Owino was named Coach of the Year after leading Kenya to the Davis Cup Euro / Africa Group II Tennis Championships after a 13-year absence. The duo of Ismael Changawa and Ibrahim Kibet defeated top seed colleagues Alexis Klegou and Felix Hounkpevi from Benin in the final of the Nairobi Club. Owino, an experienced tennis coach, event planner and sports manager, also led Sheil Kotecha to win the boys singles title in the U18 Davis Cup for boys.
She noted that the road was not easy, but believes that this is a challenge for the rest of her colleagues, and even for the less popular sports, that with hard work anything is possible.
“It’s a challenge for the female players to dare to train and to officiate after retiring from the competitive game,” she said. “It shows that we have a lot to offer and I will work closely with national coach Caroline Oduor to promote young and aspiring female coaches.”
“The festival is a great motivation for the Davis Cup team, and it’s a perfect reward for the association for its contribution to the game’s development.”
She added, “In the future, we need to focus more on youth development to secure the future of tennis in Kenya. The structures that we currently have and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) circles offer the best platforms, and I firmly believe that we will have the right players for the future. “
In the meantime, Kenya Secondary School Sports Association secretary David Ngugi said he was surprised by the Federation of the Year award this year.
The KSSSA program officially acts as a feeder program for clubs, but also for the national team. “We have been very consistent with our programs and the national associations are literally looking for players on our respective competition grounds,” he said.
Ngugi added that they have worked just as hard to ensure that Kenyan teams dominate events in East Africa. “In addition, KSSSA works with other associations in the region to make sure that we not only master the continental level, but the world as a whole,” he said.