The spectacular feat of 16 gold, 15 silver and 15 bronze medals garnered at the just concluded National Youth Games at Ilorin by team Akwa Ibom delights Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Coming at the heels of the very successful maiden Akwa Ibom Youth Sports Festival in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom Chief Executive who is the progenitor of the Youth Sports fiesta is happy that “…we are already reaping the fruits of our grassroot sports development.”
From fourth position last year to second this year, the State has made remarkable progress and by National Sports Commission statistics, Akwa Ibom is the “…greatest mover” this year placing second out of the 34 States and Abuja that participated.
A manifestation of the above assertion was the State winning two of the three track events that were reserved for the closing ceremony of the Games last Saturday.
“Akwa Ibom was an all round competitor as their medals came from a variety of sports. They won gold(s) in weightlifting, tennis, boxing, scrabble, chess, track and field, wrestling etc. and were in the finals of nearly all the sports.”
A visibly happy Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Youth and Sports, Sir Monday Ebong Uko told the media that
“I knew that we were going to do well in Ilorin, but not this well – I am happy that we acted on Governor Emmanuel’s directive that we organize a Youth Sports Festival for Primary Schools and colleges in Akwa Ibom and it threw up a lot of potentials in all the Sports”.
Mr. Paul Bassey, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sports, who was in Ilorin said “that was one occasion where it felt good to be an Akwa Ibomite.”
The closing ceremony was instructive. Of the three event medals presented by the Sports Minister, two gold and one silver medal went to Akwa Ibom.
During the Akwa Ibom Youth Sports Festival, graced by the Honourable Minister of Sports in March, a lot of budding talents in Primary Schools and Colleges were discovered and tracked and they formed sixty per cent of our contingent to Ilorin.
“The revolution is on, thanks to Governor Emmanuel and the Sports Commissioner whom we call “Sports Joseph” for his uncanny translation and implementation of the governor’s sports dreams and
aspirations” Mr. Bassey said.
The seeming vacuum that has existed in the Sports Community of a State that before now has produced World Class athletes and administrators, prompted Governor Udom to institute a return to the grassroots (schools and colleges) for the discovery and training of budding talents as a foundation for a solid sports future for the State.
Just last week, sports loving Governor Udom Emmanuel facilitated the travelling abroad of the Junior National and African Sprints queen Aniekeme Alphonsus, who has gained a Collegiate Scholarship in the United States of America.