Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, is among top personalities expected to grace the maiden South East Sports Foundation athletics competition slated for Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, on March 19. The event originally billed for March 13 was moved forward to allow Rangers FC honour a league match in Enugu.
The South East Sports Foundation is a pet project of United States-based Nigerian former athlete, Victor Okorie, who was one of the most gifted hurdlers to rise from the nation’s school sports system. Okorie, who won a silver medal for Team Nigeria at COJA 2003 All Africa Games in Abuja, has been bankrolling a scholarship programme for athletes and training of some Nigerian coaches at the National Institute For Sports (NIS) in Lagos.
An official of the South East Sports Foundation told journalists yesterday that sports-loving Governor Ugwuanyi would lead some other state executives to grace the competition, which is the first of its kind in the eastern states since Imo ’98 National Sports Festival.
Also expected at the event is the commissioner for sports in Enugu State, as well as Directors of Sports from Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi and the host, Enugu.
According to the financier, Victor Okorie, athletes are expected to arrive in the coal city on March 18 to compete the following day in 100m (male and female), 200m (male and female), 400m (male and female) and the jumps.
He stated that there would be no hurdles event in this year’s edition because there are only few hurdles sticks available at the stadium. But there will be invitational relay events for some selected secondary schools.
He hinted that the South East Sports Foundation athletics competition is open to all Nigerian athletes, but only those from the region would get prizes. “It is an opportunity for the athletes to test their fitness level ahead of the Edo 2021 National Sports Festival which holds in April, as well as the Tokyo Olympics,” Okorie stated.
Meanwhile, two Nigeria-based hip hop and reggae artist, Leo Smith and BadManQ are expected to team up with Nigerian-American Afrobeat artist based in Minnesota, E’Major, to thrill the athletes at the competition.
E’Major, a native of Enugu, had offered to sponsor himself to the competition venue as part of his contribution to the South East Sports Foundation project.
“Leo Smith and BadManQ have agreed to team up with E’Major to entertain the athletes. It is their contributions to the event,” Okorie said.