In an event that will bring together different nationalities to the savannahs of Kenya, the country is privileged to host the 2021 World Rally Championship, which will put the famed Safari Rally back on the global map.
Sports being a major component in the national identity, Kenya has, over the years, produced international sportsmen and women who have represented the country at major international sports events.
Adding on to past successes, Kenya has proven, yet again, that it not only produces great sports icons but also successfully hosts international events.
A symbol of pride and unity, the Safari Rally is to take place after a 19-year lull. The international motorsport event is scheduled for the tail end of the month, specifically June 24-27. Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed confirmed that Kenya is, indeed, the home of the Safari Rally.
Besides the Sh6 billion revenue that it is anticipated to pump into the economy, the event is expected to greatly boost employment, especially in the hospitality and tourism industries, and create a bigger market for Kenyan products locally and abroad.
The championship is yet another great opportunity to showcase ourselves as a country of peace and unity and one that embraces diversity. It is a chance to market Kenya as a sports tourism destination as we continually redefine it as a nation of great possibilities and opportunities.
President Kenyatta had intensively campaigned for the event that has now accorded Naivasha, a town 91 kilometres west of Nairobi, in Nakuru County, global recognition. More to this is the fact that more Kenyans will enjoy the event from the comfort of their homes as it will be broadcast on national television, KBC.
As other major global events, stakeholders are keen to the fact that this is their chance to shine and position themselves on a global scale. They include the Ministry of Sport , Culture and Heritage, the media, motorsport companies as well as betting firm Betika, who have been sponsoring local sports people.
Furthermore, the government has put in the much-needed investment to position the championship for success, which the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage has termed as “a moment of pride for the East African nation”.
The championship will be a great thrill and reminiscent of the days of legendary past champions Patrick Njiru, Ian Duncan and others who flew the Kenya flag high back in the day.
This time, Kenya will host 24 foreign drivers and 34 local ones. Among Kenya’s big names will be State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita, Sebastien Ogier, Carl Tundo, Onkar Rai and Karan Patel. It is definitely going to be adrenalin-charged and arguably bring us together in celebrating our achievements as a country.
Let the Kenyan flag fly high!
Selina Chiteri, Nairobi