Nigeria’s entry, Bayelsa, leaves for Belgrade, plays first game today
• Draw against Turkey, Hungary, Bulgaria, others
Champions of the 2022 Milo National Secondary School Championships, Bayelsa State’s duo of Bishop Dimieari Grammar School and St Jude’s Girls Secondary School, Amarata, yesterday, left for Belgrade, Serbia, ahead of the 2022 World School Basketball Championship, which begins today.
The Nigerian contingent is led by Bayelsa State First Lady, Dr. Gloria Ebibomo Diri, who is assisted by president of the Nigeria Schools Sports Federation (NSSF), Olabisi Joseph.
Apart from Nigeria, there are 19 other nations in the competition, including Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Nepal, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Chinese Taipei, and Turkey. They will compete in the boys and girls’ events in the competition organised by the International School Sports Federation (ISF) and hosted by the Serbian School Sport Federation.
At a reception held for the departing athletes at the National Stadium, Lagos, St. Jude’s captain, Idubamo Pius Beggi, promised to make the country proud and justify the confidence placed on them.
Her Bishop Dimieari Grammar School counterpart, Samuel Talent, echoed the same optimism. Talent promised they would bring back gold medals, even though they are in competition as ‘lucky losers.’
NSSF President, Joseph explained that this is the country’s first appearance in the yearly school games, adding that both schools, having fought off competition nationwide and emerged national winners, deserve to represent the country.
Thanking Bayelsa State government, Ministry for Education and Nestle, she said the latter provided the platform from which the schools were chosen.
Bayelsa State Commissioner for Education, Dr. Gentle Emeleh, praised Governor Douye Diri for his interest in sports, promising that the team would make the country and state proud.
Category Manager, Beverages, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Tayo Olatunji, said Bayelsa State’s decision to sponsor the students to the world championship is in line with the ideals of the yearly tournament, which was created to produce future champions.
While the boys’ team has been drawn in Group A alongside Turkey, Hungary, and Chinese Taipei, the girls’ are in group D with Turkey, Chile, and Bulgaria.
Nigeria is the only African team in the tournament, which ends on September 28.