Bayelsa women team win WESIE basketball tournament
The Bayelsa State women basketball team on Sunday won the third edition of the Women Elite Sports Empowerment Initiative (WESIE) basketball competition. They beat their counterparts from Delta State 29 to 17 to win the crown, while Ekiti and Cross River state finished in the third and fourth positions respectively.
10 states from across the country took part in the two-day tournament sponsored by the founder and director of WESIE foundation, Funke Adeniji.
Speaking on the competition, Adeniji said the programme was part of the organisation’s objectives to empower women in the country.
She said, “Last year, was Lagos, Ebonyi and Bayelsa. So this year, we are having it here. We see sport as something to be used for health and social empowerment.
“We focus predominantly on women because we do not think that women have enough opportunities to play sports. This is a platform for them to showcase their talent, develop themselves and have fun.
We also use the opportunity to raise health awareness with our medical team on ground and screening for some chronic diseases.
“Though our focus is not on international scouts, on local opportunities or talents, it’s an opportunity to compete in real game situations. But we have a number of scouts here, including Peter Ahmedu, national team coach and others. They come from across the country.
“In terms of collaboration with the Bayelsa State government, this is a sports council, so we cannot come here without them. There have been a few challenges, but we always like to come here because of that partnership.
“Sports can be a tool to change communities, improve their wellbeing and there are cash prizes too to encourage the girls and the team that took part in the tournament.”
Also speaking at the event, DTigeress’ Assistant Coach, Peter Ahmedu praised the efforts of the organizers and sponsors of the tournament, saying that the talents showcased by girls have shown that there is a bright future for the sport in the country.”
“We beg other sponsors to come out and assist so that in the next five years, there will be a great improvement. Mali is doing well, Senegal has, Rwanda has come up with one. So, in Nigeria, we also need a big arena.”
“The future of female basketball in the country is still dim in the sense that there are not many competitions. The one for this year, which is 25, is the highest we have had in about 10 years.
“With what is happening here, some of them are league players, so we give kudos to Funke and her team.
“With the level here has stepped up and with more competitions, they will improve. We have pencilled some of them down for the Junior D’Tigress.”
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