Emerging talents thrill Ajunwa as U-16 athletics championship ends in Abia
Olympic gold medallist, Chioma Ajunwa could not hide her excitement at the number of talented athletes unearthed at the maiden Chioma Ajunwa-Opara Foundation U-16 Athletics Championship, which ended in Umuahia at the weekend.
The three-day championship featured athletes from secondary schools in Abia State.
Speaking at the end of the competition, Ajunwa-Opara, who is the facilitator/president of the Chioma Ajunwa Foundation, promised to expose the discovered athletes to more training and scholarships opportunities both nationally and internationally.
The grand finale of the competition held at the Umuahia Township Stadium featured 34 schools and according to Ajunwa-Oparah, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, going by the enthusiasm displayed by the competitors and the number of potential international athletes discovered from the competition, Abia State has proved that many potential world beaters are available at the grassroots.
She admonished the students/competitors and others engaged in sporting activities against the use of drugs, stressing that doing so could ruin their lives beside other consequences.
Also speaking at the end of the three-day competition, Abia State’s Commissioner for Sports, Dr. Martins Okoji described the competition as a milestone in the state’s sports development.
He affirmed the state’s interest in developing sports from the grassroots, adding that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu mandated his ministry to collaborate with the Foundation to organise the athletics competition for Abia secondary schools.
He indicated that the state government would monitor the development of the discovered student-athletes and ensure that they participated in the Abia Sports festivals and the National Youth Festival scheduled to hold in Ilorin, Kwara State.
34 schools competed in both track and field events, including 100, 200, 400 metres races, 4×100 and 4×400 relays, long jump and triple jump at the end of which the Immaculate Conception Seminary, Ahiaeke Ndume Umuahia emerged the overall champion. The school won gold medals in the 100m dash, 4×100 and 4×400 relays for boys.