The event which is billed to take place between November 2nd and 4th at the Teslim Balogun Stadium and Rowe Park, will be bringing together, over 200 public and private secondary schools with about 6,000 students competing across all the local government areas in the state.
In his address at a media briefing in Lagos, Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo, who was ably represented by Mary Akpobome, an executive director of the bank, explained that Skoolimpics targets development of young people in order to foster their physical, social and emotional wellbeing. Physical education and sports, he said, help in character and community building, delinquency reduction, community safety, economic and social development.
He said, “It is an organized tournament, driven on the platform of education, to aid tackling the dearth of insufficient sports talents by ‘catching them young’; mentoring them by facilitating the development of their talents and dreams whilst attaining good education.”
Other objectives of the tournament, he mentioned, included creating a platform through sports where the youths will imbibe great leadership attributes and lead their communities well; grooming young athletes yearly from the grassroots, develop, train and nurture them to compete and achieve their dreams; and increasing participation in sports in order to discover more talents and future champions and Olympians.
Sekibo narrated that a look at the days of glory in sports to the present, particularly, with the recent lackluster outing at Rio Olympics, pretty sums up the deterioration in the country’s institutional framework.
On the part of the Lagos State government, the chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Deji Tinubu stated that right now, there is no current school child both at the state and national level who is an athletic household name; whereas in those days, there was Stephen Keshi, Henry Nwosu, ChidImoh, Falilat Ogunkoya, Dick Tiger, a host of others.
He then narrated that the essence of Skoolimpics was to get everybody back on track, reminding them that the country’s future stars, are the ones who are in the secondary schools now and not the ones who are training and between the ages of 20 and above.
According to Tinubu, if we don’t tap them now, if we don’t starting training them, if we don’t start nurturing them at this level, we are probably going to lose another generation of stars who would probably have made Nigeria proud. ‘That is why we are partnering with Heritage Bank’.