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Okagbare thrills students, as First Bank athletics clinic ends in Lagos


Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor

Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor

Commonwealth and Africa’s track queen, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, may have put behind her Team Nigeria’s disappointing outing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, as she thrilled school children with various athletics’ techniques in Lagos on Wednesday. The event was organized by First Bank, which has Okagbare as its athletics Brand ambassador.

At the Agege Stadium, where the First Bank Athletics Clinic took place, ‘Coach’ Okagbare was excited dishing out instructions to the students aged between 13 and 17 years. The students were drawn from various secondary schools within the Lagos metropolis.

Before taking the students on a light walk out round the track of the stadium, Okagbare took her time to educate the kids on importance of combining education with sports. “For you to be a great athlete like me, you must be ready to learn. And everything you learn here today should be a guide as you move on. But you must try to improve on it from time to time,” she told them.

After the tutorials, attention then shifted to the pitch, where Okagbare taught the children some basic techniques in athletics, splitting them into groups consisting of 10 students each.At the end of the exercise, the students expressed their gratitude to First Bank for the opportunity and the experience they acquired from the athletics clinic.

There was, however, a mild drama midway into the exercise, when Okagbare bluntly refused to entertain questions from journalists, who were at the stadium to cover the event. “I can’t speak with any journalist. They should go and see my agent,” was how she waved aside one of the journalists, who approached her for comment.

Her refusal to speak with journalists did not go down well with some of the teachers, who led the students to the arena. “I have read so many bad stories about the lady (Okagbare), but I feel that as a Brand Ambassador to First Bank, her attitude towards journalists should have changed for good, especially for this occasion. How can you say journalists covering your own event should go and see your agent? It is not the proper thing to do,” the teacher fumed.

However, First Bank’s Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney, said the bank understood the importance of sports in the development of healthy bodies and sound minds, and was investing in the sports to nurture talent, especially among the youth. “Sponsorship of sporting activities also creates a platform to entrench the values of passion, dedication and perseverance which form the bedrock for nation building,” she said.

In December last year, First Bank announced Okagbare as its Brand ambassador. The bank’s relationship with her dates back to the London 2012 Olympics when it promoted her as Nigeria’s best track and field athlete. With a large collection of medals in track and field events, she embodies the strong qualities of resilience and excellence.

“Okagbare’s endorsement of an athletics brand ambassador not only aligns with the bank’s core values of passion, partnership and people, but also reflects its brand promise to deliver the gold standard of value and excellence to its teeming customers,” Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney said. “FirstBank’s endorsement of Okagbare is proof of the bank’s support for talent nurturing; to further propel the youth towards the achievement of their dreams, while it underpins the bank’s stance to collaborate with its stakeholders and provide support in all aspects of their lives.”


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