By Jude Atupulazi
A total of 15, 000 students are billed to participate in the Anambra Sports Solution Initiative (ANSI) Competition which kicks of from May 17 to 19 at community level. The local government level will kick off on May 25 and end on May 26; while the district/zonal will be from 9-10 June. A total of 3,600 student athletes are expected to compete at the finals from 21 to 24 June in Awka.
Briefing members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, Anambra Chapter, at the Conference Hall of the Anambra State Sports Commission, the Technical Consultant to the sports Commission, Mr Oluyomi Sule, who represented Mr Patrick Estate Onyedum, chairman, Anambra Sports Development Commission, said SWAN was being involved from the outset owing to the crucial role of the media in information dissemination.
He said the commission’s first programme for the year under ANSI would involve primary and secondary schools in partnership with the State Education Ministry.
‘We plan to blend sports with education and we’re partnering with the Ministry of Education to ensure students are protected from missing lectures,’ Sule said, while disclosing that those selected at the end of the competition would be camped at Rojenny Sports Complex, Onitsha during the long vacation where they would have lessons and trainings.
Forms which are out already will be picked for free by schools which will register participants strictly based on age group to set standards. The forms will be filled by principals and games masters and will have complete data of the students so that anyone caught cheating will be apprehended.
‘We want to grow sports accordingly and with the governor’s support we will dig deep to the roots of the problem,’ Sule added, while revealing that the picking and collection of forms would be from 18 April to 12 May.
According to the full schedule, a press conference heralding the competition will hold on May 16, followed by the start of the competition next day. Mr Sule said they wanted to give enough mileage to the competition and that all the sports would not be involved exceptthose the state was doing well in and those described as multi events.
He said the games would take three stages with first one taking four sports because of the large number of students. The first, at community level; second, at local government level; third is at senatorial district/zonal level; while the fourth will be at state level.
Every community will present one team, with two teams representing each local government area. 14 teams will meet at senatorial district level, with the two top teams from the district going on to compete at the state level. He said talents would be discovered and those selected would be called to camp during long vacation to mix sports with summer school.
The following sports will play zonal elimination to qualify for the state final: football, basketball, volleyball, tennis.
All other sports will go straight to the state finals.
The U-13 category will fish out best talents to be trained to represent the state in the national U-15 championship.
A breakdown of the sports to be competed for in the various categories are: Athletics, U-13 and U-16; Basketball, U-16; Chess, U-13 and U-17; Football, U-13 and U-17; Scrabble, U-13 and U-17; Swimming, U-17; Table tennis, U-13 and U-17; Tennis, U-17; Taekwondo, U-13 and U-17; Volleyball, U-17. Cricket will feature as an exhibition game.
In his vote of thanks, the Anambra State Chapter chairman of SWAN, Tony Oji, commended the commission for its initiative and while praying for the success of the competition, pledged the support of SWAN in giving it prominence. He called on the state governor to fund the commission too, while also urging him to complete the pavilion at the stadium to make it complete.