Anambra state government has revived the moribund first primary and secondary school sports festival which held last ten years ago for both public and private sectors in the state.
Speaking at a press conference/ official opening ceremony of the festival in Awka yesterday, the Chairman Anambra state Sports Development Commission, Patrick Estate Onyedum disclosed that a total number of 610 primary and secondary schools across the 21 local government areas of the state enrolled to participate in the festival.
He commended Governor Chukwuma Soludo for graciously approving the first solution sports festival, which is organized by the Anambra State Sports Development Commission in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Local Government Affairs.
He said the management team have enlisted 30 young athletes in different sporting events for monthly training, lamenting that paucity of funds has forced it to place only six of them on monthly stipend of N20,000 which is subject to review every year.
According to Onyedum, this grassroots development programme is borne out of the desire to take Anambra back to its days of glory in sports when the state produced national championships in different sporting events, including the Christ the King (CKC) 1977 team that won the world Academicals in Dublin.
“We are determined to make Anambra the number one talent hunt destination for national and international scouts in different sporting events. I assure that in no distant time, Anambra children will find their way to studying abroad through sports scholarship.
“We started preliminaries at the community level from May 17, 2023, while finals will hold between June 21 and June 24 at different venues.
“Within the eight months life of this management team, Anambra has taken part in a number of national sports competitions, including the national sports festival in Delta state last year where we won six gold, nine silver and 24 bronze medals”.
“We are confident that at the end of this tournament, we would have raised a generation of young athletes that would surprise the country at the national youth games scheduled for September this year and by extension at the national sports festival scheduled for Ogun state next year.
In a remark, the state Commissioner for Education, Prof Ngozi Chuma-Ude, condemned what she termed the lease-fair attitude of students to sporting activities, arguing that it encourages full development of the child.
Prof Ude highlighted the benefits of sports in human development, including the three domains:effective, cognitive and psychomotor growth of a child.
On his part, Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Mr Tony Collins Nwabunwanne assured that pupils and students would gain immensely from sports, which will boost emotional interest, develop social life, instill discipline and improve academic performance.
He equally promised to give his full support to sports development in the state, and urged youths to always participate in sporting activities.
Over ten primary and secondary schools, including Unizik high school, Awka, Udozor Memorial primary school, Awka, Holy child convent Amichi in Nnewi South Council Area, Stella Maris International College, Umueri, Anambra East council area attended the occasion.