IN PREPARATION for the annual National Youth Games Anambra conducted her inaugural secondary school trial in the New Awka city stadium. Prior to the final trials Different schools in the entire 21 local government in the state were given the task to organise the under 17, under 15 tournaments at the school levels, then the best were selected to compete at the local government level, at which the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd per LGA, were chosen to come for the trials in the stadium.
The trials were focused on athletes activities in track and field which includes long jump, high jump, triple jump. Javelin throw, Discus, 100 meter race, 200, race, 800meter race. The event started June 30th and ended July 1st with cash prices at the Government House on the 7th of July 2022.
The event started after series of screening were conducted as mercenaries and ineligible students were dropped. Of the 21 local governments expected only 17 participated due to insecurity and curfews in their regions.
Chairman of the Anambra State Sport Development Commission Tony Oli, was delighted at the success of the event while giving a speech he said “I am very happy and delighted at the success of this trial, students who earn the first to third position will represent the state at the forthcoming National Youth Games, and also there are cash prices for the above mentioned competition” he however frowned at use of mercenaries and ineligible and over aged players and how it has affected the growth of sport at the grassroots level in the past, while addressing the game masters he said,” to our game masters I want to advice us that we should not encourage any form of corruption, last year some of our so called student took first in various sports at the under 17 and under 15 level but when it was time for scholarship to complete their secondary school education, they refused to accept because some are already undergraduates at some tertiary schools.
In the process they have denied other unfortunate innocent legitimate students who needs that scholarship” he therefore commended students to work hard as he gave example of instances where sports has taken people from poverty to riches. Also Mr. Oli added that Anambra State will start thinking of camping for the Youth Games in August.
Secretary of Anambra state athletics, Ifedeora Eugene was grateful to the government for showing interest in sports and athletics in particular he said “I am grateful to the government of Prof Charles Soludo and also our Chairman of the Sport Commission, Tony Oli for their genuine interest in the revival of school athletics not just football, athletics, this will bring attention to the grassroots sport, and it will give our students who will be representing our state for the first time a little experience on how an original competition should be in the National Youth Games, they will be able to handle pressures and the whole idea will not be foreign to them.”
Director of Sports, Faith Ogbona made it known that the event will continue to hold every year to select the best athlete that will represent the state in any and every given competition.
“This is the first time that the state organises something like this but our intention is to continue with this every year so as to find replacement for our athletes who have passed the U-15 stage.”
Popular athletic coach, John Igboka monitored the event. Cash prices were given to the first second and third athletes for the U-17, N15,000 was awarded to the first position, N10,000 to second position and N7,500 was given to the third, for the U-15, N10,000 was presented to the first position, N7,500 to the second and N5000 to the third position.
Game masters were rewarded with cash gifts too. The Athletes will return to training as they wait to be called upon in August for camping and September to represent the state.