Like every Nigerian, John Momoh (OON), Chairman/CEO of Channels Television, is worried about the steady decline of sports in the country and he, with his team at the Lagos-based televison station, are set to stem the slide.
The decline, he said, apart from administrative failures, stems from the neglect of grass-root sports development from
where young talents are discovered and harnessed and this he has decided to tackle through the organisation of competitions for primary schools in Lagos state.
According to Mr Momoh, who addressed the press in his Maryland, Lagos office yesterday, the inaugural edition of the Channelsâ€™ Kid Cup started early this year and â€œit showed the hunger for age-group sports.â€
In addition to the Channelsâ€™s Kid Cup, Momoh said his organisation had also planned a Channels U-18 Athletics Challenge for the third quarter of 2009 but has to be shifted to the first quarter of next year because of loaded sports programmes.
â€œSpecifically, in 2010 Channels Television will sponsor two major youth tournaments, first is the 2nd edition of Channels Kidsâ€™ Cup …for primary schools in Lagos State in February 2010, (and) the maiden edition of Channels U-18 Athletics Championship which will take place in March next year.â€
Part of Momohâ€™s strategy to stem the decline of sports in the country is the organisation of a Sports Summit in Lagos to â€œprovide an avenue for the stakeholders to discuss and recommend ways by which we can not only reclaim (our) lost sporting glories but also improve on the achievements of the past.â€
On hand yesterday to support Momoh for the Channelsâ€™ initiative were Dan Ngerem, former President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Mrs Chioma Ajunwa-Opara, Nigeriaâ€™s first Olympic gold medallist, Nduka Ugbade, first captain of the 1985 U-17 World Cup winning team and African 400m hurdle record holder, Henry Amike.
All of them commended Mr Momoh for his initiative and advised that even though there would be challenges on the way, he should not be deterred from pursuing his objective to help reposition Nigeriaâ€™s sports for the better