Lagos State emerges the Champions of the maiden edition of the Maltina Schools Games
It was a display of young sporting prowess and a showcase of promising talents as the finals of the maiden edition of the Maltina School Games held at Yaba College of Technology, Akoka- Lagos.
The initiative by Nigeria Breweries Plc had contests in Track and Field events including 100m sprints, 400m, 800m, 4x100m relay, long jump, high jump, javelin and shot put; and was jointly organised by the drinks giants and Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF).
When the modalities for the games were first unveiled in Lagos in January this year, many including the organisers saw it as tonic for the much-needed revival of school sports in Nigeria.
Over 20 million school children are targeted to be impacted through sports and impact communities with the competition. The maiden edition involved three states: Lagos, Anambra, and Kano alongside the Federal Capital Territory.
After the final games, Lagos State proved to be the best contingent as it emerged overall champions with a total of 38 medals, comprising of 21 gold, 12 silver and 5 bronze medals. Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, came a distance second with a total of 27 medals made up of 4 gold, 13 silver and 10 bronze medals. Kano State clinched the third position with a total of 15 medals, 3 gold medals, 4 silver and 8 bronze.
The victorious Lagos Team went home with a cash prize of N5,000,000 as the best Overall Best State (OBS). The award would be split to empower the winning schools from the state with sporting equipment.
The Overall Best Athlete (OBA) was won by 17-year-old Joy Ojo, a student of Ijaiye Housing Estate Senior High School, Lagos. She won a scholarship worth N1.5 Million to any university of choice for her three gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4x 100 meters. Besides, Ojo won the Best Senior Girl with gold medals in the events that gave her the best overall winner.
Onyebuchi Nnebedum of Christ Redeemer College, Anambra State won the Best Male Athlete with gold medals in Javelin and Shot Put events while Sikirat Anifowoshe won the Best Junior Girl award with gold medals in 100 m and 4 x 100 gold races.
Moses Okon of Euba Junior Secondary School, Lagos won the Best Junior Boy athlete with gold medals in 400 m and 4 x 100 relay. Athletes with outstanding performances were given scholarship worth N500, 000.
Olabisi Joseph, the President of Nigeria School Sports Federation, NSSF, who spoke at the event, reiterated how sponsors like Maltina are giving the children opportunities to discover their talents.
“I know these children’s lives are changed forever. This wouldn’t have been possible without our sponsor, Maltina. Some of these children will continue to pursue athletics as professionals.
“I believe that there is so much we can achieve; talents are everywhere and we just need to continue to harness their potential”, she said.
Sade Morgan, Corporate Affairs Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, said the games were Maltina’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) focusing on raising a generation of future champions.
“Learning is not just in the classroom, learning outside the classroom is equally important.
“We couldn’t have done this alone without the School Sports Federation, we can’t overemphasize the fact that we have lots of talents in this country, especially in tracks and fields. ” Today, we take this bold step to ensure that we give these children the opportunity and also to mentor them as we should to help them focus”, she said.
Jordi Borrut Bel, the Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, who unfolded the motives of the initiative, said that the Maltina School Games is a platform designed to promote the development of children, from improving their social and leadership skills, to bettering their wellbeing through sports.
“It also contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3, which is to ensure the health and wellbeing for all, with a focus on young school children,” he added.
Ibrahim Anifowose, one of the outstanding students from Lagos State applauded the organizers for the scholarship, stressing that winning the scholarship would help his parents to provide for his educational needs.
“I am so happy that I was selected as one of the most outstanding athletes. I have always loved sports, but this has given me the encouragement that I need to remain focused.
“I will learn to manage my time effectively, so it doesn’t affect my studies. I will learn to balance the two”, he said.
Mr. Funsho Ayeni, the National Trade Marketing Manager Nigerian Breweries Plc, expressed delight at the massive turnout of schools and more importantly with splendid performances recorded by the youngsters.
“For us at Maltina aside from our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), our goal is to help with active kids and create happy moments like this and we are glad about the massive success we have recorded in Lagos”, he said.