Cross River State governmentÂ has expressed delight over the choice of Calabar as host of the 21st Nigeria, NNPC-Mobil Track and Field Championsips.|
Addressing a delegation of Mobil Producing Nigeria and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN ) which paid him a courtesy call last week,Â Deputy Governor, Efiok Cobham commended NNPC/MPN Joint Venture and the AFN for considering the state worthy of such a hosting honour for a competition that has always been held in either Lagos or Abuja.
â€œ We thank you for bringing the competition here and we want to assure you that you will not regret it.â€ The Deputy governor said.
Mrs. Gloria Essien-Danner, Executive Director, Mobil Producing Nigeria thanked the Deputy Governor for the warm reception and went on to acquaint him with the history of the championship which her organization has sponsored consecutively for twenty years.
The General Manager, Government and Public Affairs relived the celebration of the twentieth edition in Abuja last year and the decision to take the championship round Nigeria â€œâ€¦â€¦as much as AFN will permit.
â€œ To be able to consider a state or venue fit for the championship that is the flag ship of the AFN, certain criteria must be met and I am happy to inform you that after a thorough inspection, the AFN has declared your excellent stadium and related facilities fit for the Championsipâ€ she said.
The Deputy Governor who was happy to hear that, said the Cross River State government is currently working on ensuring that veritable athletes are discovered and groomed for stardom. He informed that the state has already employed the services of top American coaches for track and field and that Cuban coaches were also expected to start work soon.
Very much at home with sports in Nigeria, Governor Cobham reeled out the name of top stars who have faded into oblivion and longed for the return of the likes of Utit Ofon Nkanta, nee Uko who broke the African 100 metres record inside the main bowl of the Calabar stadium.â€
â€œ We have a passion for sports that is why we are sitting down here and talking with you. My Governor, Liyel Imoke believes in sports as a youth development and empowerment initiative that is why you see us doing what we have done already, albeit quietly.
â€œ Nigeria has great potentials for sports and the Obudu Cattle Ranch for instance can be a veritable camp for the training of long distance runners,â€ he said.
AFN board member, Omatseye Nesiama, who was also in the delegation thanked the state for accepting to host the championship this year. He commended the Cross River State government for the initiative of employing world class sports coaches to develop the youths of the state.
He believed that competitions like the Mobil Track and field was going to boost the efforts of the state as the youths will now be exposed to the role models, top athletes from home and abroad that will descend on Calabar during the championship.The event has been billed to hold from June 24-26 at the U.J.Esuene Stadium in Calabar.