The aim of the Championship according to the FCT Director of Sports, Mallam Alim Musa is to identify budding athletes in the secondary schools in the FCT for training so that in future, such athletes would be good enough to represent the FCT at national competitions and the country in international championships.
Trustsports spoke to a cross section of games masters who expressed happiness with the grassroots sports development initiative but had issues with the timing of the championship and the number of schools that have been brought together to compete at the same time within such a short period.
Speaking to Trustsports, the Vice-Principal of Government Secondary School Biaji in Kubwa, Mr. Yahaya Musa who represented his games master said the Athletes of Hope Championship is a welcome development. He however observed that before the next edition will be held, the organizers should stage the competition at Zonal levels and then bring together winners for the grand finale at the state level. His words “What they can do to achieve the set objectives is to zone the event. The best from the zones can now come for the finals at the state level. In the past, we used to have secondary schools sports festivals. I think we had it once or twice. Even if we are not going to continue with Secondary schools sports, this new one can replace. The only thing is that the organizers will have to include other sports”.
On his part, Mr. Okoro Onakachi of Government junior Secondary School Mabushi said although there were hitches to contend with, the organizers deserve commendation for putting together the event which would in the end assist in discovering future athletes.
He however did not agree with calls for the championship to be zoned as he said the best thing is to allow all the schools to bring their students together for the desired competitive atmosphere to be attained. “This arrangement is the best because the students should be exposed to such atmosphere so that they can get used to what a championship is all about. If the organizers can put the crowd under control, it is not a problem” he maintained.
Mr. Badjibassa Bereiziat of Blessed and Precious Academy in Lugbe said although he brought his students to compete, none of them has been given a chance to compete because the organizers seem not to have their names on their list. He said he was shocked by such a development because forms sent to his schools were filled and names of athletes for the respective sports were clearly stated.
Mr. Chukwe Etherbert who is the games master of Junior Secondary School Giri, commended the initiative as he said it remains the best channel through which future athletes can be identified early for appropriate training. To me, this championship is unprecedented. The idea of bringing all the secondary schools in the FCT to compete in athletes is a step in the right direction because right here athletes who would represent the FCT and the country would be discovered”.
He, however said instead of bringing all the schools together in such a small space as the Old parade Ground, the organizers should heed to the appeals for the championship to be zoned. “It will be easy to coordinate activities when only the best from the zones at brought to come and compete. For now you can see the crowd that is like sheep without a shepherd” he observed.
Mr. Idris Rahman Musa from Government Secondary School Yangoji said the Championship is a welcome development but expressed dissatisfaction with the way the organizers handled the list of athletes. He said most of his students were not given the opportunity to compete.
In addition, he said since accommodation was not provided, his school came from Yagoji throughout the duration of the championship, a development which he said took a great toil on the school’s finances.
The only games mistress spoken to was Mrs. Chima Catherine of Government Secondary School Life-Camp who said the Championship started on a difficult note but as time went on, things gradually took shape and so organizers of the Championship deserve to be commended.
She said the organizers were overwhelmed by the number of students who registered for the events. Mr. Chima, therefore toed the line of those who want the organizers to zone the championship so that only winners at the zonal levels would be brought to compete in the grand finals.
This year’s Athletes of Hope Championship which started on Wednesday attracted a total of two thousand, five hundred and sixteen students from one hundred and twelve schools both Public and private who took part in fourteen events.