Akwa Ibom Youth Sports Festival Receives Accolades
By Umoh-Obong Kingsley
The 2nd edition of the Akwa Ibom State Youth Sports Festival kicked off on Tuesday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium otherwise known as the ‘Nest of Champions‘, with laudatory notice from the Minister of Youth and Sports Development.
With thousands of excited Akwa Ibom students, pupils and sports lovers gathered at the opening ceremony of the Festival by the state Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, the capital city came alive and beehive of sports activities.
Encomiums by the Minister for Sports Development, Barr. Solomon Dalung, represented by the Secretary General of the Nigerian Weightlifting Federation (NWF), Dr (Mrs) Esther Oluwatoyin Aluko, greeted the event, describing the event as one of Nigeria’s largest schools sports projects, even as she was pleased with the performances from the athletes.
According to her, performances from Akwa Ibom State youth athletes in the competition are indicatived that the state is already on the path of excellence, and that such structure and system will attract both public and private sectors’ participation and support in sports development.
Dr Aluko commended the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, who was recently awarded the Best Sports Governor in Nigeria, for making it possible for the young athletes to showcase their God-given talents through participation at the sports festival, and assured that athletes discovered at the festival would represent the state in national competitions, and thereafter represent Nigeria in international competitions.
The traditional Games’ Torch LGA tour which began last Wednesday and culminated into its last lap at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium during the Games’ official flag-off on Tuesday, had it’s maiden edition last year as one of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s grand strides in sports development.
The Honourable Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Sir Monday Ebong Uko, in a media chat with 9jaecho.com, disclosed that incentives added to the 2018 Games, among many others, include special awards – Most Valuable Athlete, Best Behaved LGA, Best Behaved School, Best Behaved Games Master, Best Behaved Council Chairman, etc.
He said the Most Valuable Athlete, at the end of the Games, will be made to embark on an all-expense paid trip to attend national and international sports meets.
Gov Udom Emmanuel, whose penchant for sports development since assumption of office seems to know no bounds, has carefully introduced eye-catching incentives to this year’s Games to engender effective participation.
A cash prize of ten million naira awaits the eventual overall winners; five million naira for the second placed LGA while the third-placed LGA will go home with three million naira.
The Governor, who identified sports as the most unifying tool for national cohesion, charged all participating schools to be of good conducts during and after the tournament.
He reiterated the commitment of his administration to see sports development beyond what others see, and the Dakkada spirit beaming through sports, saying that the state government will not rest until the likes of Serena Williams, Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Lebron James and Usain Bolt are discovered in Akwa Ibom for the world.