School athletes to fight for Deji Tinubu trophy, N5m in Lagos
• Ghana, Togo expected in SBN meet
To give school children a platform to build their athletics career, Sports Business Network (SBN), in partnership with Lagos State Athletics Association, is set to host the maiden International Schools Athletics Championship in Lagos.
The track and field competition for students of between six and 17 years has attracted schools from two neighbouring West African countries, Ghana and Togo, as well as private schools in Lagos, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Niger states. It will hold between March 14 and 19, 2022.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, ex-Olympian, Enefiok Udo-Obong, said the competition is to enable young athletes, particularly, those in private schools, compete and feel the experience their counterparts in other countries enjoy.
Udo-Obong, the only Nigerian to win two Olympic medals, a gold at Sydney 2000 Olympics and a bronze at Athens 2004, hinted that the aim is to organise a competition that is close to Olympics standard.
He added that though the maiden edition is for private schools, the best schools in the six zones in Lagos State would be invited for the competition. “Registration for private schools is N100, 000, public schools N50, 000 and individual athlete N10,000. The event is open to students of between six and 17 years and the person must be in school because it is a school competition.
“For now, we have seven private schools, five in Nigeria and two outside listed for the event. But all interested schools still have up till the end of this month to register, and we shall confirm all entries on March 6. There will be prizes for schools and individuals. We appreciate all our sponsors and we still need more,” Udo-Obong stated.
Also speaking on the championship, Chairman of Lagos State Athletics Association and Vice President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Dr. Solomon Alao, said deliberate action must be taken for Nigeria to have more champions in athletics.
“In Lagos State, we build stars for the future and give them hope. Together, we can build a solid foundation for Nigerian athletes,” he stated.
“Beside winning the Deji Tinubu trophy, the overall school in the SBN International Athletics Championship will get some development programmes and prize money not less than N5 million,” Alao stated.
On his part, newly appointed Chairman of Edo State Sports Commission, former jumper, Yusuf Alli, said he would introduce the schools athletics competition in his state soon after the maiden edition in Lagos.