Opinion: Okutoyi Grand Slam feat signifies Kenya’s rich, diverse sporting talent    

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug. 16 (Reuters) – Angela Okutoyi made history by becoming the first Kenyan to be crowned champion at the Grand Slam, the world’s most prestigious tennis competition.

She stunned the world with a brilliant performance at the Wimbledon Open Doubles Juniors Championship, where she and partner Rose Marie Nijkamp of the Netherlands won the final.

The Wimbledon win was the culmination of her triumphant streak at major tennis tournaments in Kenya and abroad, including being named the 2021 Africa Junior Champion title.

In January, Okutoyi was named Sports Personality of the Month (SPOM), an award sponsored by LG Electronics in partnership with Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK), after performing very well in the Australian Grand Slam.

In fact, the teenage tennis sensation has shown that Kenya, recognized worldwide as an athletics powerhouse, has a rich pool of talent across multiple sporting disciplines.

Okutoyi is among a galaxy of rising young Kenyan champions taking the sporting world by storm, including rally drivers Maxine Wahome, McRae Kimathi and Hamza Anwar, athletes Ferdinand Omanyala, Hellen Obiri, Evans Chebet, Peres Jepchirichir, basketball player Tylor Onwae Okari and the Boxer Elly Ajowi, just to name a few.

The great achievements of these young people demonstrate the need to identify, nurture and nurture sporting talent across disciplines. Also the need to bring and promote the high level of athletic ability among the Kenyan youth to world-class levels.

Angela Okutoyi with her Dutch partner Rose Marie Nijkamp smiles after her win at Wimbledon

Beyond leisure, sport can play a crucial role in creating jobs, livelihoods and business opportunities for youth. Investing in sport has many benefits for young people as it helps them realize their potential in life.

Additionally, as a multi-billion dollar global industry, sport can benefit our young people with the right partnerships that bring together governments, the private sector and other stakeholders.

Luckily, rising stars across sports disciplines have role models like Okutoyi to inspire and guide them as they develop their talents and careers.

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Angela Okutoyi comes home. PHOTO/ Courtesy Olympics KE

Participation in physical activity is also hailed as a means of promoting an individual’s social, emotional and mental well-being. With this in mind, more effort and resources should be devoted to mentoring and empowering talented youth in sport.

Various studies have shown that sport can help young people develop life skills by setting goals, encouraging perseverance while managing emotions.

This also helps them develop basic life values ​​such as integrity, discipline, self-confidence and honesty.

For example, LG has actively supported the identification and recognition of sports talent in Kenya through a partnership with SJAK.

The purpose of the SPOM Awards is to recognize outstanding Kenyan athletes for their achievements in various disciplines each month.

Recognizing and rewarding athletic performers is an important step in identifying and nurturing local athletic talent. Now entering its seventh year, the LG/SJAK partnership has rewarded and empowered many Kenyan sports heroes.

Sa Young Kim, LG Electronics EA General Manager (L) Evans Chebet. Photo/SJAK

This year alone, LG has donated over Ksh 6.6 million to the initiative in both cash and gifts.

Through this partnership, we are committed to making sport a viable and attractive activity for Kenya’s youth and, most importantly, a vehicle for the country’s socio-economic transformation.

Together we share the ambition to create opportunities at all levels for aspiring Kenyan athletes to scale the heights of their dreams and create positive change in their communities.

In the immortal words of Nelson Mandela: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It speaks to young people in a language they understand.” We must therefore do more to make sport a force for social well-being and create life-changing opportunities for the younger generation.

By Changhyun Kim – Marketing Director of LG Electronics East Africa

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