Last weekend one of the most exciting global athletics competitions took place in Kenya – the Absa Kip Keino Classic, the last meeting of this year’s World Athletics Continental Tour at the Moi Sports Complex, Kasarani.
The festival brought some of the world’s best athletes from various disciplines to Kenyan soil, including sprinters Justin Gatlin and Trayvon Brommel, and Olympic champion El Bakkali.
Congratulations to our Kenyan athletes Faith Kipyegon, Vincent Keter, Mary Moraa and Ferdinand Omanyala, who, among other things, put on a great show and won various races and even set new records. It was indeed a moment of pride for our country.
These events not only make a decisive contribution to the international awareness of our sports industry, but also promote sports tourism. All over the world, sport is quickly becoming an important contribution to the tourism sector and thus to economic development.
As a bank whose aim is to bring opportunities to life, we felt honored to have played our role as a core partner in this major event that gave our athletes another chance to live their spirit of victory on home soil and show the world what Kenya is made of.
PROUD OF OUR COUNTRY
There is no denying that nothing on the global stage puts Kenya in the limelight as much as the skills of our athletes. The awards they have won in track and field competitions around the world have built our country a solid reputation as a manufacturer of world class runners. Their consistently impressive performances attract regionally and internationally renowned athletes who come to Kenya to train alongside our champions in high places such as Iten and Eldoret.
The Absa Kip Keino Tour was another opportunity to express our identity as the home of champions and demonstrate our growing ability to host international competitions.
As a private sector, we need to be more interested in sport as it plays an important role in improving our society. From a social point of view, sport plays an important role in building nations, strengthening social cohesion, preventing violence, and in building peace and unifying people, especially young people.
A recent report from Unicef 2021 identifies exercise as an effective way of engaging all children and developing their personal and social development to help them reach their full potential. Sport offers children – even the most disadvantaged – from an early age the opportunity to develop their physical skills and health, socialize, develop leadership skills, promote lifelong learning and have fun, according to the study.
In addition, young people who play sports acquire important life skills such as communication, cooperation and leadership that strengthen their self-confidence and develop desirable qualities for the job market. More generally, for societies, the above research has identified sport as an important factor in supporting the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
All of these factors explain why the private sector should get involved. The private sector can participate in the development, financing and provision of sports infrastructure and services, among other things. In addition, sport is a cash incentive sector that requires consistent investment to attract the right role models, coaches and coaches who are critical to achieving positive results and nurturing athletic talent.
Over the years we have seen the positive contributions of the private sector in promoting sports such as soccer, boxing and rugby. As a result, many talented young people find decent employment through sport. Our decades of sponsorship of the Kenya Open Golf Tournament is proof of what public-private partnerships can achieve in a short period of time. Through such fruitful partnerships with Kenya Open Golf Ltd and the Department of Sports, we have helped transform the Kenya Open Golf Tournament from a local tournament into a prestigious, globally recognized championship that attracts and produces some of the world’s most renowned golfers.
The success of the Absa Kip Keino Tour is further proof that when we work together in the public and private sectors, we can raise the bar for our country’s sport development, talent identification and development and sport tourism opportunities. With consistent effort, Kenya can be recognized not only as a country of great sporting talent, but also as one that has the capacity, goodwill and resources to host global competitions on our soil.
For private sector actors, investing in sport creates opportunities for high awareness, visibility and positive affinity – all of which contribute to profitable results for a company and create a win-win situation for everyone.
Mr. Awori is the managing director of Absa Bank Kenya PLC