2024 Olympics Day: Enugu Govt reassures commitment to sports devp

Enugu state Saturday , marked the 2024 International Olympics Day celebration ,reiterating commitment to sports development.

Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Lyold Ekweremadu gave the reassurance while speaking with newsmen at the event held at the Volleyball court axis of the Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu, with the theme, “Let’s Move and Celebrate.”

He said, Olympics Day is a celebration of ,peace . Giving a brief history of how the celebration started, Ekweremadu said it started in Ancient Greece with communities settling their scores by engaging in sporting competition opposed to going to war..

“So, this is a celebration of peace , a celebration of Sports excellence, and creating awareness of the upcoming Olympics games. Essentially, as we have one of our own, Lucy Ejike , who would be representing us”, he said.

Pix: Ekweremadu ( m) flanked by female volley ball players

The Commissioner said, ” Enugu state is a home of Sports. It’s a home of Sports excellence. It has a very long history and most recently, Rangers football club ,,Enugu ,excelled and we are going to represent Nigeria in Continental championship.

“Enugu is a home not just for Sports excellence but also for Sports tourism in Nigeria, “he said.

Asked to evaluate the journey so far in sports in the state, the Commissioner said the important thing is to continue working .”We have a huge target that we set and we are more concerned with meeting those targets.We are more concerned in ensuring that we build grassroot sports in Enugu. We are more concerned in seeing that we deliver on new sporting facilities and we are more concerned in sering that we deliver those things for the 2026 National Festival . So, we have not taken time to look at how far we have come . We have our heads down”.

On the level of preparedness of Enugu state to host the 2026 National Festival, Ekweremadu said ,”the Government is keen tio improve on existing infrastructure and to develop new infrastructure for sports in the state. I can attest to the fact that there are various infrastructural development going on across the state , Sports would not be left behind because His Excellency is interested in seeing that sports is developed.

On improving the facilities at the stadium, , he said they had undergone the first stage of refurbishment and they were about to go for the second phase because of the CAF championship.

The Commissioner added that they wanted to do that before the CAF championship starts, so that that they could play their champions leagues there.

Pix: Ekweremadu Jnr.

He disclosed that state Government had approved a number of developments across the various parks in the state, the Ngwo park, Ejindu park, and Nnaji park and these parks will now feature sporting facilities including . 5-Aside pitch, Basketball courts, Volleyball courts to allow for more oppurtinies for people to exercise their talents and give a larger pool to select from.

On talent hunt to select sportsmen and women that would represent the state and win medals at the 2026 National sports festival, the Commissioner said they had series of engagements with the state sports associations to see to that and they assured that they were “doing everything that they could to ensure that they select sports and women that will represent the state and make us proud.”

“We will be having school sports to achieving this.Developing grassroot sports is very good to achieving this. A number of competitions are coming up. At moment ,we have First Lady’s cup going on with young girls playing . We had a grassroot boxing and talent hunt which had produced more than One hundred Boxers,. We are building faith. Very soon , it will materialize.,” Ekweremadu said.

He assured that all the sports will be carried along and that calls for a collective effort., as government cannot do it alone.

In an interview, a member of the Umuaka Chinemerem Volleyball Club, Miss Odinakachukwu Ikegbue, expressed the confidence that Enugu young athletes would do better if supported

She said, “What makes players perform is their mindset, their spirit and their soul. Every player I know that trains in this stadium, especially for volleyball, is very prepared and focused. All we just need is the support of the state. Since the state government has decided to support us with equipment, infrastructure, and motivation, I believe we will do a lot of exploits “

Pix; Young Volleyball players engaging veterans

On his part,, Master Elias Ijenu of the Zenith Skating Team said ,“We participated in a competition organised by  the Skaters Federation in Calabar and came back with an outstanding result. We believe that collaborating with the state government based on sponsorship, we are going to make the state and our nation proud.

Pix: Ekweremadu exchanging pleasantries with the female Volley

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