Over 150 secondary schools, 72 teams ready for MTN CHAMPS Season 2

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MTN has penciled in about 3000 athletes to compete in the second leg of MTN CHAMPS Season 2 holding from 5-8 April.

The telecommunications company disclosed this at a press conference held in Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday.

It said the event would hold simultaneously at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, and the University of Ibadan Sports Complex, both in Oyo State.

It further stated that over 150 secondary schools will be vying for honours over the four-day programme

Speaking at the press conference, the Oyo State commissioner for education, science and technology, Prof Salihu Adelabu, thanked MTN for its decision to bring the athletics event back to the state, having hosted the third leg of the competition in Season 1.

“I appreciate MTN CHAMPS because they want to catch these athletes young and for them to do that, they need to partner with the ministry. This is the second time the competition is coming to Ibadan and I want to assure you that this is the right decision because there are a lot of talents here.

“We don’t joke with extra-curricular activities in Oyo State, so sporting activities have been incorporated into the school time table. The major ingredient that can foster development, unity and love is nothing else but sports, and that is why we support this initiative,” he said.

In his remarks, the state commissioner for youth and sports, Mr Idowu Adesokan, commended the organisers for partnering with the ministry and other key stakeholders in ensuring that MTN leaves a befitting legacy through CHAMPS which she described as an intervention programme for the youth of Oyo State.

Adesokan highlighted the importance of MTN providing a platform for young talents to be discovered, which would in turn go a long way in reviving Track and Field in Nigeria.

“We all know that sports have a lot to do with the economic sector and one of the major drivers of our togetherness as a nation. In sports, we don’t know ethnicity, religion and tribe; it’s one Nigeria, so this is a very important sector.

“We know that Football is the biggest sport in Nigeria but over the years, Athletics has taken its own fair share and we’ve seen our athletes make us proud. For instance, Nigeria finished second overall at the recently-concluded African Games in Accra, and the performance of our athletes brought us back the good old days when Nigeria was at the forefront. I’m proud to say that MTN is here to stay in Athletics.”

For his part, the founder, Making of Champions (MoC), Mr Bambo Akani, said Nigeria is blessed with vast potential and appreciated the MTN for keying to the vision to raise future champions for Nigeria.

He also commended the leadership of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and the NSSF for their support in ensuring a successful staging of MTN CHAMPS.

“It has been an 11-year-old journey and we are very grateful for MTN’s support for this initiative. Last year, we had about 2000 athletes register for MTN CHAMPS Ibadan and this time around, we’ve had about 2600 registrants. Ibadan is the location that every other location needs to live up to, and this is a testament to Oyo State’s investment in sports, especially by providing two great facilities for us to use”, he said.

“MTN CHAMPS Ibadan is happening across two locations, and we will be making use of electronic timing devices at both venues; this is the first time this is happening in the history of Nigeria, and we are using this event to launch the concept of the Continental Relays. Nigeria is like the nexus of sprinting in Africa and has won eight of the 10 relay medals Africa has won at the Olympics. The Continental Relays as an event has come to stay. We are going to make Nigeria the relay capital of Africa” he said.