Minister of Sports and Youths Development, Sunday Dare, yesterday disclosed that the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos will be ready for use in August, after 19 years of abandonment.
The minister who disclosed this yesterday, when he paid a courtesy call on the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, in Abeokuta, said the stadium was rehabilitated through the adopt-a-stadium initiative by his ministry.
He explained that the National Stadium, Lagos, which was built in 1973 fell into state of disrepair almost 20 years ago due to neglect and total abandonment by successive administrations in the country.
The minister, however, said his ministry’s initiative of partnering private individuals in the country to adopt a stadium for rehabilitation, had helped in rebuilding the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Abuja and the National Stadium, Lagos.
According to him, an industrialist, Aliko Dangote had been approached to adopt the Abuja Stadium, disclosing the stadium had been fitted with a new football pitch, world class tartan tracks and latest version of scoreboard.
On the National Stadium, Lagos, Dare disclosed that a business mogul, Kessington Adebutu adopted it, noting rehabilitation work at the stadium had reached 75 percent.
The minister, therefore, called on Governor Abiodun to key into a adopt-an-athlete initiative of his ministry, to nurture, develop and encourage Nigerian athletes wherever they are in the world.
Dare, who informed the governor that he was in the state for the final of the Super Six Female Soccer Tournament in Ijebu Ode, however, urged the governor to adopt an indigene of the state, Tobi Amusan, a 24 year old 100 metre hurdle athlete.
He hinted that the Ijebu Ode born but Texas, USA based hurdle star was one of medal hopeful of the country at the Tokyo Olympics.
“One of the first things I did when I became the Minister was to initiate adopt-a-stadium and adopt-an-athlete to bridge the infrastructural deficit in our major stadia, and to help and nurture Nigerian sports talents. When I approached Alhaji Aliko Dangote with this idea, he agreed and adopted the MKO International Stadium, Abuja. That stadium is being rebuilt and fitted with world standard football pitch, tartan tracks and latest scoreboard.
“As for the Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, another business mogul, Chief Kessington Adebutu, has adopted it. Work is about 75 percent done and that stadium will be opened for use again by August, after 19 solid years”.
“Your Excellency, there is an indigene of your state, Tobi Amusan, who is doing well in 100 metre hurdle. In fact, she is one of our medal hopeful at the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics, not only in hurdle but in relay event as well. Therefore, I want to request that you adopt her in line with our initiative. For a Nigerian based athlete that is adopted, a sum of $10,000 will provided for him or her directly, while $20,000 is provided in a similar manner, to any adopted foreign based athlete. This is to nurture, encourage and develop them to compete and win laurels for the country at global stage”. The minister stated.
He further commended the Ogun state governor for his administration’s youth empowerment programmes, particularly in the areas of ICT and agribusiness.
Responding, Abiodun who said youths empowerment and job creation was one of the five cardinal pillars of his administration, disclosed that the ICT TechHub was deliberately conceptualised to convert youths of the state from ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’ to more profitable ICT ventures.
While commending the Minister for his ministry’s initiative on rehabilitation the country stadia and nurturing sports talents, the governor, announced the immediate adoption of Tobi Amusan.
He also urged the him to help Ogun identify her sports talents, expressing his administration’s readiness to help them nurture their skills in order to make them world champions.
RSG Restates Commitment To Youth Dev Via Sports
The Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on School Sports, Chief Aribitonye Okiri, has said that the state government-led by Chief Nyesom Wike, is committed to develop youths in the State through sports.
He stated that it is not in doubt that the State has hidden talents at the grassroots that are yet to be discovered.
Chief Okiri, said this at the finals of the National School Sports Competition held at Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.
According to him, Governor Wike is poised to reach out to young ones in all the local government areas, in the state and engage them with sporting activities in a bid to discover hidden talents.
“As I speak, the governor has reiterated his desire to reach out to the children in all parts of the state and unearth their talents through engagement in sports, believing that all Rivers children are talented” Chief Okiri said.
Also speaking, the second Vice President of Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Pastor Emmanuel Ebong, thanked Governor Wike, for proving a worthy partner of NSSF and appeal to other corporate organisations to emulate Nigeria Breweries Ltd in partnering NSSF in sports development.
At the end of the final competition, Community Secondary School, Okochiri in Okrika Local Government Area, dominated the medal table.
24 States Set For Lagos Athletics Championship
The Lagos State Athletics Association has confirmed the entry of 24 states and some clubs for its lucrative Athletics Meet fixed for Thursday, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship made the disclosure at the weekend even as he hinted a few other states may still join the already confirmed 24 states and clubs.
He said: “Yes, we are very much on track for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship which will be coming up this Thursday.
“Right now, we already have 24 states and some top racing clubs that have confirmed their participation, a few more may join before we close the window.”
The Lagos Open Athletics Championship is a one-day meet simultaneously serving as another qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
In the past days, Lagos has been a beehive of activities with the National trials at the Yaba College of Technology Sporting complex and now the train is moving to the heart of the city in Surulere as the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics continues to gather momentum.
The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship includes the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters, and 100 meters.
There would also be top-quality action across the relay events including; the 4×100 meters open, 4×100 meters open and 4×400 meters mixed relay.
Long jump, High jump, Triple jump, Shot put as well as 4×100 secondary schools relay and 4×100 secondary schools relay have all been penciled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Championship.
Already, the top three finishers across all the events have been assured mouthwatering prizes by the organisers.
Okagbare Sets New Record At Olympic Trials
Blessing Okagbare will be heading to Tokyo Olympics in the best form of her life after running the second fastest time in the world this season.
The 32-year-old ran 10.63 seconds to win the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Olympic Trials at the Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos on Thursday.
The 10.63 seconds time saw her tie with Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’ best time in 2021 ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Okagbare ran 10.99 seconds in the semifinal of the event to set a new championship record , and before clocking 10.63 seconds in the final to set a new record. The scorching 10.63 time is also a new African record. Only Florence Griffith Joyner who holds the world record at 10.49 seconds has run faster. The Nigerian has now emerged one of the favourites for the 100m gold at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who first ran 10.63 seconds this season.
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