By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has reinvented School Sports Festival in the state, after it went moribund for over a decade.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Festival, held on Thursday in Awka, Governor Soludo, said the reinvention was well thought, described sports as very essential in the life of every child, while also highlighting the benefits of school sports to include improved health, improved fitness, improved academic performance, and improved social relation, among others.
The Governor, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Hon. Tonycollins Nwabunwanne, reiterated his administration’s committed to promoting sports and sporting activities in the state, as well as propelling overall development of the State.
He further revealed that many sporting activities have been going on at the Awka City Stadium, while many developmental projects are currently going on in different parts of the State, courtesy of the State Government.
The Governor further hinted that the office of the United Nations Development (UNDP) will be commissioned in the State in few days time, while many other foreign partners and inventors have shown interest and desire to come into the state, as a result of the multi-faceted transformation going on in the state
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Chairman, Anambra State Sports Development Commission, Mr. Patrick Estate Onyedum, explained that the festival, tagged ‘First Solution School Sports Festival’ was for both public and private primary and secondary schools in the State, and would hold at community levels, local government, and senatorial levels, after which the winners at the senatorial levels will compete for the finals at the state level.
While noting that a total of 610 schools have already enrolled for the festival, Mr. Onyedum recalled that school sports festival was last held in the state over a decade ago, even as he appreciated Governor Soludo for revamping and consummately supporting the Festival, which, he said, would be organized by the Commission, in collaboration with the State Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs.
He further recounted Anambra’s past and recent feats in sports, both nationally and globally, and expressed optimism that the Sports Festival would take the State back to its days of glory in sports.
“This grassroot development programme is borne out of our desire to take Anambra State hack to its days of glory in sports when we produced national champions in different sporting events, including the CKC 1977 Team that won the world Academicals in Dublin.
“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,” he said.
“Within the eight months life of this management team, Anambra had 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,” he added.
Contributing, the State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh noted that child’s development should be complete, covering both the cognitive domain, the affective domain, and lastly the psychomotor domain, which reflects learning behaviour achieved through sports and neuromuscular motor activities.
She commended the leadership of the Sports Development Commission for their efforts in promoting sporting activities in Anambra, which, she said, was part of Governor Soludo’s all-round development vision for the state, even as she reassured of unwavering support from her Ministry.
In a vote of thanks, the Chairman, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Anambra State Chapter, Mr. Tony Orji, described the event as historic and called for its sustenance.
Unveiling of the Solution School Sports Festival logo formed the highpoint of the event.