Kisumu County is set to launch a major sports talent search in November to reach out to youth at the grassroots with the focus on talent identification and development.
The programme dubbed ‘I am Kisumu Sports Talent Search’ was to be rolled out earlier this year but was shelved due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The talent search will start from the wards through to sub counties with the climax activity being a grand finale at the County level.
Area Deputy Governor, Dr Mathew Owili, made the announcement during the distribution exercise of assorted sports gear and equipment worth Sh 8.9 million to various ward based clubs on Wednesday.
“This programme will enable us to reach out to young talents down at the grassroots, therefore, ensuring none is locked out of this exercise. The identified talents are meant to be placed in our senior clubs and teams at the county, national, and international levels,” said Dr Owili.
In the 2020/2021 Financial Year, the County Department of Tourism, Sports and Culture procured the sports equipment at a cost of Sh 8.9 million to benefit 8 wards at the onset of the project.
Dr Owili said the County government is determined to upscale support for sportsmen and women to boost the standards of sporting activities in all the 35 wards in the County.
Teams from Kolwa East, Kisumu North and Chemelil wards received the donations consisting of uniforms, soccer balls, goal nets, and footwear and protection gear.
Other wards that have benefitted are Awasi/Onjiko, Nyalenda B, Muhoroni, Koru, North Nyakach and South West Kisumu.
“We no longer want to see our young talents kicking balls made of plastic papers or play barefoot. We are out to dignify sports and give our budding sportsmen and women the confidence they deserve,” said Owili, adding that Kisumu is home to prominent sports personalities in soccer, rugby, hockey and basketball.
The County Executive Committee (CEC) for Tourism, Sports and Culture, Achie Alai, said the County has also established a Sports Policy which will guide on sporting activities in the County.
Achie revealed that the policy among many things touches on the doping issue that has been impacting local players.
The Department will organize for anti-doping education awareness to enable athletes to understand the four major areas that predispose them to doping offences.
Additionally, the County Government has also given prominence to sports for persons with disabilities. Last year, the County Government and the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to ensure improved mainstreaming of disability in sports.
The County provided space at Mama Grace Onyango social centre in Kisumu for the establishment of a sports wellness gym for persons with disabilities.