Akwa Ibom to produce international sports stars

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March 11, 2018 12:44 am


Akwa Ibom government says it will not rest until it produces international sports stars that in a couple of years that would compete favourable with their counterparts from other parts of the world.

Governor Udom Emmanuel who stated this during the opening ceremony of the second Akwa Ibom youths sports festival holding at the Godswill Akpabio international stadium in Uyo, said in addition that the state government is determined to make the state the sports capital of the country.

“We will not rest until we give the world another Serena Williams. Let us not rest until stars in the mould of Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Lebron James and Usain Bolt are discovered in here Akwa Ibom. That is not impossible. They are all here, and it is our challenge to fish them out. If we do our part as we are doing, I have the faith and belief that going forward; no Nigerian National team will be complete without an Akwa Ibom child, he said.

Describing sports as money churning venture that provides a passport to an “instant flight to fame beyond your wildest imaginations,” adding Sport is the goldmine it can take “you from the land of obscurity to the firmament of stardom and instant celebrity with attendant benefits.”

The governor who explained that the investment in sports by his administration was not an indication that the state government has abandoned academics, but rather to complement it pointed out that it has already commenced the construction of sporting facilities in ten centres across the state.

Noting that the state government’s investment in sports has started yielding fruits with many trophies being brought to the state described Akwa United as a beautiful pride adding that the club has won the Federation Cup, now Aiteo Cup and other national trophies while currently engaged in the race for the Confederation Cup,

According to him, the nation too is celebrating the state’s achievements in sports development with many awarded including that of the Best Sports Governor 2017 and another award as the State with The Most Comprehensive Sports Development Programme; as well as The State with the Most Patriotic Sports Supporters and The State with the Best Sports Infrastructure.

“ My Administration sees sports development beyond what others see, We must ensure that we give this generation of Akwa Ibom children the necessary support and exposure for them to rise to greatness through sports. That is the vision that brought us out here today’’ he said

The governor who described football and indeed sports as the most unifying tool for national cohesion urged the youths to unleash a healthy competitive spirit that represents the very soul and essence of the Akwa Ibom character and person as the sports festival christened Uyo 2018 begins.

He urged the young sportsmen and women to show utmost discipline and to take the completion as a very serious undertaking explaining that the universal language of sports is fair play noting that though not all Akwa Ibom children were born with equal talents, they should be given equal opportunity to explore their innate potentials

Speaking also, Solomon Dalung, the minister of youths and sports development identified adequate funding as key to sports development

He urged states to invest in sports as means of engaging the youths away from criminal activities adding that grassroots sports holds lots of promise for high performance in sports meets.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Esther Tonye Aluko, the minister commended the Akwa Ibom government for its investment in sports development which according to him has earned the state many accolades during national youth games held in Kwara State last year

“It is no gainsaying that the state has a strong determination factor to our success at international games and competitions and to sport success in the world over. The state is the producer of athletes that represent Nigeria at international sporting programme and that is why organisation of this sport festival is challenging for early discovery of potential athletes and offer opportunity for them to expose them to the right foundational skills necessary to becoming star athlete,’’ he said.

Participants in the weeklong youths sports festival are drawn from primary and secondary schools from the 31 local government areas of the state.

 

ANIEFIOK UDONQUAK, Uyo

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