Government to cushion sports personalities as coronavirus bites
Kenyan sportsmen are set to benefit from government financial aid at this period when the novel coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill.
As the virus continues to wreak havoc across the globe, sporting activities have not been spared either with major events postponed or cancelled.
With all the events now on hold as the globe fights the pandemic, sportsmen have been hit hard by the turn of events with their daily routines greatly ruined.
Locally, sportsmen in all disciplines have had to adjust to life without competitions which also has direct impact in their financial status.
On April 6, during his address to the nation, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the Ministry of Sports Culture and Arts through the Sports, Arts, and Social Development Fund to avail Sh 100m to support artists, actors and musicians during the period of the pandemic.
The order would however elicit mixed reactions as Kenyans advocated for the sportsmen to be assisted as well.
In an interview with Royal Media’s Chamgei FM, Athletics Kenya president Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei who is also the chairman of the Fund’s Oversight Board revealed that the government was indeed in the process of rolling out the aid.
“I would like to make it clear that we no longer have the Sports Fund, since 2019 we have the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund which now encompasses sports, arts, culture, health and social development. When the President ordered that musicians and artists be supported then there were calls for our sportsmen to be supported too and the Ministry of Sports also decided to cushion our sportsmen at these difficult times,” said Tuwei.
With Kenya a hub of sportsmen from athletics to volleyball to rugby, Tuwei disclosed that only a few of the vulnerable sportsmen will receive the support in line with the parameters set out by the Ministry.
“The target is to reach the vulnerable sportsmen who have no formal employment and will also be limited to those who represented the country in 2019 in the various national teams. All the federations were required to have forwarded the names of their athletes to the Ministry by April 9.
This exercise will only reach very few sportsmen and thus I want to urge those who won’t get the support not to feel sidelined,” he said.
At the same time Tuwei revealed that 50 per cent of the Fund has been earmarked for infrastructure including the construction and renovations of stadia.
“In the wider Fund we now have the Sports Fund, which we have now subdivided in that half of it has been set aside for infrastructure while the other half goes to sports development which includes support of national teams and hosting of high caliber international events,” said Tuwei.
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