The AthIetics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) President Chief Tonobok Okowa has lauded the initiative which will bridge the gap between youth and junior athletes.
AFN President Okowa spoke on the need to produce a pool of young athletes who will be positioned to take over from their older ones.
He said: “I am the main beneficiary of what is happening here today (4th Oct.2023) When the older ones are fading out, what happens if you do not have the younger ones coming up? Okowa queried.
So, grassroots sports development is the key to success. At the National Youth Games (NYG), the age bracket is between 12 to 15, but for those within ages 15 to 20, there are no proper competitions, and Making of Champions (MoC) have just rescued us from that challenge.
“I want to say thank you thank you to MoC. With these competitions, these athletes will look forward and will train towards them, because sometimes we lose the athletes between 15 and 18 because no good competitions to keep them going. We at the AFN will give you every support you need.”
MoC Chairman Engr Olu Akani is optimistic that the championship sponsored by one of telecommunication giants in Nigeria will be a turning point for Athletics in Nigeria.
Akani also highlighted the immediate and imminent rewards of staging Championship and appreciated the efforts of all the bodies backing the initiative.
He said: “I am pleased that we now have a telecommunications giant identifying with our efforts to take Track & Field to lofty heights in Nigeria. This is indeed a monumental turning point in our country’s history in school sports and in Athletics. I have the conviction that Championship will unearth and foster athletics talents across the country and is poised to becoming the primary platform for identifying and nurturing promising athletes who can represent Nigeria in future international competitions.
“Indeed, is a cumulation of years of the sacrifice and investment that has been made in the last decade by MoC to bring Nigerian athletics to where it needs to be, and now together, we can collectively uphold the vision and scale it to the highest standard imaginable that will ensure a resurgence of Nigeria’s bold footprint in global athletics.”
More than 7000 athletes and 500 schools are set to battle for over 1000 medals and 32 school/team titles in the first edition of the Schools’ Athletics Championships which will take centre stage across four locations: Benin, Uyo, Ibadan and Abuja.
A press conference held on Wednesday, unveiled a telecommunications giant as title sponsor, with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and the Nigeria School Sport Federation (NSSF) also partnering with the organisers of the historic initiative, Making of Champions (MoC), to ensure a hitch-free competition.