Uganda’s leading telecommunications company MTN Uganda has announced a one-year sponsorship deal with reigning World Record holder Joshua Cheptegei.
This was at a press conference held on Saturday, February 20, 2021 at the Mbale Resort Hotel in Mbale City, Eastern Uganda.
As part of the sponsorship package, UGX 100 million will go towards the Joshua Cheptegei Foundation that is working to develop and provide a platform for young and rising athletes from the Sebei region. This fund will cater for academic scholarships for the best performing athletes and community programs, especially entrepreneurial skills training.
In addition, there will be a performance-based sponsorship package for Cheptegei if he wins Olympic Gold in Tokyo or any other medal at the prestigious event this year. The deal also includes a performance incentive for any other world records that Cheptegei breaks.
Speaking at the press conference, MTN Chief Executive Officer, Wim Vanhelleputte said that the company could not hide its joy after several years of investment in the sport of athletics started bearing fruit in significant ways such as Joshua Cheptegei’s.
“We are very proud and honoured to announce this sponsorship deal for Joshua. At MTN, this is the next best thing we can do after several years of investment in developing athletics talent and sport in this country. Through the renowned MTN Kampala Marathon and other Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) programs, MTN has supported the sport for over 15 years. And it is paying off. What Joshua is doing for the country is awesome and deserves to be recognized especially by his country,” Vanhelleputte said.
MTN Uganda has been in partnership with the Uganda Athletics Federation since 2004 as part of the grassroots development of Uganda’s athletics. Through this partnership and various programmes, a great deal of bright talent across the country has been identified and gone on to shine at various world championships.
Cheptegei becomes the first individual athlete to enter such a deal with the telecommunications giant. MTN Uganda has a rich history of sponsoring sports entities like the Uganda Cranes, Heathens Rugby Club, KCCA and Onduparaka football clubs but this is the first time they are signing an individual athlete.
Cheptegei expressed humility for receiving this sponsporship from MTN Uganda saying that it is a great boost for his Olympic dream.
I am really honoured and want to take this opportunity to thank MTN for this partnership. This is a big motivation towards achieving my dream to become an Olympic champion.Joshua Cheptegei
Cheptegei rose to the top step in 2014 when he won the World Junior Championships in Eugene, USA before becoming Africa Junior Champion the following year.
Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic that led to the suspension of global sport, Cheptegei ruled the track & field. He broke Kenenisa Bekele’s sixteen-year-old 5000m World Record by setting a new 12:35.36 for which MTN Uganda rewarded Cheptegei with a big cheque. He later set a new 10000m World Record of 21:11.00 at the NN Valencia World Record Day. And just last month, Cheptegei defended his Monaco Run title to continue his dominance over the discipline.
Vanhelleputte and Cheptegei have both stated this partnership is aimed towards the growth of support of Ugandan athletes locally from Ugandan citizens.