Go-Round/SWAN Secondary Schools Athletics Champ: Forward with Gov. Wike, Bro Obuah!!

By Daily Sports on March 14, 2016

Dear readers, as we did agree from inception that this your weekly column, Sports Pulse would strictly keep tab on and highlight extensively patriotic and selfless Nigerians and corporate concerns that against all odds stake their hard earned resources for the development of sports in the country. This week we will X-ray the benefits of the recently concluded and then much anticipated Go-Round/SWAN Secondary Schools Athletics Championship 2016 which was held from February 2, 2016 at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

It will be over statement to acknowledge that the three-day sporting summit which was chaired by former Minister of Sports, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, was a huge success as he reaffirmed in his opening and closing speeches that it was full of excitement.

The turnout of both participating and ex-internationals that graced the event to give moral support reveals the gains of the competition to our present-day quest to raise future daring athletes that would take the tracks and field scene by storm at the state, national and international levels.

Let me refresh your memory that the brain behind this very rewarding athletics meet is the very unassuming and well behaved patriot and sport passion personified and his unquenchable appetite for the well being of our young ones in his heart of hearts, the very suave Bro Felix Obuah. He needs no much introduction because of his strong belief in the welfare and harnessing of the talents of our youths and the young ones in the society. He has identified with this mission and vision for decades. He is no pretender to the arena.

The Go-Round/SWAN Secondary Schools Athletics Championship 2016 was the much-sort-after opportunity for Rivers State to discover budding talents for future competitions, both local and international.
Lovers of sports all over the country should applaud the sponsor, Bro. Felix Obuah, and his noble idea of solely funding the championship which for all intent and purposes remains an investment well channelled.
One would not agree with the sponsor less when he revealed that sports have been his passion for over 30 years.
No doubt, budding athletes have taken full advantage of the opportunity offered them by Bro. Felix Obuah. As the sponsor did point out, if they distinguish themselves, they will also be remembered like sporting icons such as Adokiye Amiesimaka, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, Faliat Ogunkoya, Chioma Ajunwa-Opara, Endurance Ojokolo, Maria Osifo, Ezenwa brothers, Chidi Imoh, Yusuf Ali, Olapade, Innocent Egbunike, Blessing Okagbare, etc.
For Bro. Felix Obuah, the sole financier of the championship, his obsession with sports has driven him to sponsor the event, stressing that he believes that from this championship Africa’s Usani Bolts, etc, would be discovered.
His assurance to all the participating students that lots of awards await them, if they can only be disciplined enough and serious with their chosen sports, is like an affirmation and sure footed if his antecedents are anything to go by. True to type, Bro Obuah a.k.a Go-Round, reeled out the awards for them such as Gov. Nyesom Wike’s award for best LGA, Commissioner for Education Scholarship Award for Indigent Students; Bro. Felix Obuah’s trophy for Overall Winning Local Government; Bro Felix Obuah Scholarship Award to the best 20 athletes; and Chief Adokiye Amiesimaka Award for Most Outstanding Male Athlete.
Others are Chief Adokiye Amiesimaka Award for Most Outstanding Female Athlete, Hon. Samuel Ejekwu Award for male/female category and National SWAN Award for Most Disciplined Athlete.
As if he was icing the golden cake baked by Bro Felix Obuah, the Hon. Commissioner for Sports in the state, Boma Iyaye, said, the Rivers State Government will always encourage and support individuals and corporate institutions that would want to sponsor sports.
He wholeheartedly commended the sponsor for his dignified vision for the championship he single handedly bankrolled.
Let me confess that one of the enduring aspects of the tourney was that it took care of all segments and everyone that distinguished went home fulfilled. There were rewards for distinguished LGAs and athletes such as the best LGA March Past Award, Most Disciplined Athletes Award, Overall 3rd Best Award, Overall 2nd Best Award, Overall Winner Award, Overall Best Male Athlete Award, and Overall Best Female Athlete Award.

It is instructive to note here that the sponsor of the Go-Round/SWAN Secondary Schools Athletics Championship, Bro. Felix Obuah, rewarded the best 20 male and female athletes in the contest with cash prizes and scholarships to the university level.
Bro. Obuah awarded one million cash prize to the Overall Best Local Government Council and the State Government followed suit with another one million naira that made it two N2m. He said this at the official opening ceremony of the competition.
Meanwhile, there was no dull moment in the three-day championship as various events – 100m girls, 100m boys and others that were competed for.
The tournament, which had all the 23 local government councils in the state in attendance, had about 460 participants.
We should take special note here that the new development in Rivers State as articulated by the deep sense of patriotic zeal of Bro Felix Obuah continues to remind the rest of Nigerians of the real meaning of sports event as a youth championship and sports development project.

In this new dawn, therefore, there is a long-sought-for private sector initiative in the embodiment of sports enthusiast cum philanthropist, Bro Felix Obuah, keying into and setting the tone for the ‘New Era and Vision’ of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Even before he was elected the State Chief Executive, Chief Wike through a well thought out synergy of the two foremost sectors of the economy resolved to guide the process of meaningful sports development.

The sweetness of the recently concluded athletics summit was spiced with its strictness for U-17 secondary schools students, who are indigenes of their respective local governments.

Of great importance also was that nine track and field events have been selected for this maiden edition. They include 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 4x100m, 4x400m, high jump, triple jump and long jump.”

Felix Obuah, who is also the Chairman of PDP in Rivers State, is besides the owner of Go-Round Professional FC, and has expressed commitment to sponsor the athletics championship every year. He was recently honoured as the Patron of SWAN in Rivers State.

It is hoped that other states will do a rethink and focus on the need to identify young, talented athletes for the purpose of grooming them to international standard and to tap into sports’ potential as a facilitator of socio-economic development.

It will be recalled that in the not too distant past, states appreciated the enduring benefits of sports development from the grassroots and painstakingly organised school sports competitions to discover and further groom talented athletes to represent them in National Sports Festivals. Sadly, all these beautiful settings are now things of the past. Thanks to the foresight of Bro Obuah and his now yearly Secondary Schools Athletics Champ, there is now something to assist in growing the Nigerian child through sports.  

Chief Adokiye Amiesimaka vividly recalled as if it was yesterday thus: “That was how at the 2nd National Sports Festival in Lagos in 1975, for instance, Godwin Odiye, Chris Oyobio and I emerged from our various Secondary Schools in Lagos to represent Lagos State Academicals (the Intermediate Football Team) and thereafter, Nigeria at intermediate level. Only one year later, Odiye and I also played for our senior national team, the Green Eagles. Ex-international Thompson Usiyen too was our contemporary from then Mid-Western State. It was a similar process of ascension in other sports.”

Unfortunately, states chose to ignore the link between building a solid foundation and attainment of excellence. Rather, they focused on manipulating the system to ‘poach’ ready-made athletes from any source. As a result, too many young and talented potential superstars of tomorrow were not given the opportunity to participate (their positions having been taken by ‘mercenaries’), but, like flowers in the desert, “wasted their sweetness in the desert air”.

For too long, many state officials did not see the Festival as a forum to proudly showcase their contributions to the development of sports because they did not do much in that direction. What they rather did was to confirm their expertise in enticing the most capable athletes and falsifying eligibility documents.

There is every indication that in due course other sports will be included in the championship to the benefit of Rivers State. For now, “athletics hopefuls” from this championship should be further groomed to represent the state in Calabar later in the year. Indeed, it should not matter if they are unable to accumulate medals in the Festival. Sports development records all over the world show that if this process is sustained, Rivers State would be the hub of excellence in sports. Head or tail, this Bro Felix Obuah and this new Rivers example is worthy of emulation. Forward with Obuah, sporting Gov Nyesom Wike, Sports Commissioner Boma Iyaye and other sports movers and shakers, stakeholders and sundry! Meanwhile, we give a standing ovation for Bro Obuah sound Initiative for the youths!!

•Enyinnaya can be reached via 08055068145 (sms only) or by e-mail via sportzvictor@yahoo.com.au

Source Daily Sports

Posted March 14, 2016


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