Poised to groom young gymnasts for global competitiveness, the Edo State Government has organised the maiden edition of the Gymnastics Clubs/Associations Super Championship.
Speaking at the opening of the championship at the Indoor Sports Complex of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, in Benin City, wife of Edo State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Maryann Shaibu, urged the 17 clubs participating in the maiden edition of the championship to display good sportsmanship.
The 17 clubs participating in the championship are drawn from eight states.
“We have always preached extracurricular activities and I believe this is part of it. I encourage you all to be the best you can, especially for the contestants.
“For the coaches and the organising team, I urge you to do the right thing and ensure that rules and regulations are very well adhered to so that we can have a standard championship.”
The Permanent Secretary, Edo State Sports Commission, Mrs. Sabina Chikere said that the competition is geared towards developing the state's athletes.
According to her, “One of the mandates for the sports commission is to go to the grassroots. We want to go back to grassroot sports development because that is where we really want to get them young. With that, we will be able to harness that potential and mold them into what we want them to be.”
The Permanent Secretary added that that the commission is working on incorporating sports into the school curriculum in the state, noting, “We are trying to bring sports back into the school curriculum. We are collaborating with the Ministry of Education to see how to bring sports back to the school. It is going to be part of their academics because sports is not just an outdoor thing. It equally has to do with your Intelligence Quotient (IQ).
“There is going to be a subject called Sports in schools. From September, hopefully, it will kick-off."
The Executive Director, Sports Development and Operations, Edo State Sports Commission, Dr Emmanuel Igbinosa reiterated the state government's resolve to develop sports, noting that the state-of-the-art facilities in the stadium are going to be harnessed to groom local talents.
“This facility is one step towards developing the sports to elite level where we can also compete favourably with other nations in the world.
“The fact that Edo State Government has invested massively in building these facilities, getting the right equipment which can compete internationally with any gymnastic hall in the world is a right step in the right direction,” he added.