By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
A member of the House of Representatives, Julius Pondi has said that the Ijaw nation can produce future Olympic gold medallists in swimming for the country.
Speaking to Vanguard Sports in Abuja, Pondi said with deliberate encouragement, those within the riverine areas in the country like the Ijaw people can win medals for the country in Olympics.
This is as 16 Clubs are participating in this year’s annual football competition organised by the lawmaker who represents Burutu Federal Constituency of Delta State.
The lawmaker advised youths in the constituency to participate in the competition which he said will serve as talent hunt, adding that the place being a riverine area, it could produce future Olympic winners in swimming competition.
He said his motivation for instituting the contest was to creatively engage the youths of the area in order to improve their social well being even as he expressed the hope that the competition would create the platform for the youths to excel in football and also enable them to compete for their inclusion in the national team.
He also said the competition would help to place the youths in good stead to be good enough for competitive football careers on the global stage.
“Aside from football as a worthy attraction for Ijaw youths, the local government councils in Ijaw land should construct swimming pools as a means to further sharpen the swimming skills of the average Ijaw man and woman”, he stated.
Pondi said a deliberate encouragement of the Ijaws to deploy their swimming skills into competitive sports would be of immense benefit to the country especially in future Olympics, adding, “if anyone anywhere in the world merits a gold medal in swimming, it should be an Ijaw son or daughter.”
Pondi said the winner of the competition will go home with N500,000, the second place will have a prize of N300,000, while the third place team will go home with N200,000.