THE University of Port Harcourt at the recently concluded West Africa Universities Games held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, proved beyond reasonable doubt that apart from being a citadel of learning, it is also a centre of sports excellence. It was the fourth consecutive time UniPort was topping the WAUG medals table.
The WAUG games tagged UniPort 2018, which were held between October 31 and November 10 saw Team UniPort hosting and winning convincingly with 75 gold, 36, silver and 24 bronze… a total of 135 medals out the 462 medals at stake. The total number of participating universities was 36. University of Lagos, came second with 16 gold, 24 Silver and 16 bronze.
University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Ghana, came third with 9 gold, 53 silver and 4 bronze medals. The fourth position went to Obafemi Awolowo University which garnered 8 gold, 3 silver and 7 bronze medals, while Bayero University, Kano harvested 6 gold, 7 silver and 9 bronze to place fifth. University of Ghana, University for Development Studies, University of Ilorin, University of Benin and Nile University of Nigeria took the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth positions in that order.
The University for Development Studies beat Bayero University Kano on penalty for the football event gold.
Matthew Nantiere of the University of Cape Coast and Grace Anigbata of UniPort won the best players in the male and female categories in athletics, respectively. Godwin Olofun of the University of Lagos and Zainab Alabi of University of Ilorin received the awards for best male and female players in badminton. Kareem Joseph of UNILAG and Iornumbe Deteren of BUK took the awards for basketball. Daniel Anwuli and Perpetua Ogbiyoyo, both of UniPort emerged as best male and female players in chess.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who was Special Guest of Honour at the closing ceremony, a Director in the Ministry, Mrs. Oluwagbemisola Ajibade, commended the University for hosting a successful sporting fiesta for the youths of West Africa. She stated that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari paid special attention to sports development in the country as a powerful instrument of peace, national and youth integration.
In his farewell address, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, congratulated the athletes, coaches and technical officials who participated in the various events and for making friends across the sub-region. He also expressed gratitude to the Rivers State Government for the huge financial succour which he said played a decisive role in the successful hosting of the games by the University of Port Harcourt.
“Our collective gratitude also goes to the Government of Delta State for supporting us from the beginning to the end of the Games. We are grateful to the Secretary-General of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Mr. Elijah Aamu for his invaluable input to the huge success recorded at the Games. We thank Heritage Bank for partnering us to stage the event. We cannot thank one of our distinguished Honorary Alumnus, Dr. Solomon Ogba enough for his untiring support for the University of Port Harcourt,” Professor Lale disclosed.
Declaring the 14th WAUG Games closed, President of the West African University Games, Professor Kingsley Akpabio, described the sporting fiesta as a huge success, despite the twists and turns that raised concern at the preparation stage. Professor Akpabio specifically commended the universities that came from outside Nigeria to participate in the Games. He ended his closing remarks by ordering the extinguishing of the Games Torch which was lit by one of UniPort’s star athletes, Mercy Genesis.
Other dignitaries who graced the event included the Rivers State Commissioner of Youths and Sports, Mr. Boma Iyaye, who led two other commissioners to represent Governor Nyesom Wike at the opening ceremony and the Front Desk Officer for UniPort at the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Aliyu Alani. Chairman Local organising committee Prof. Regina Ogali remarked that UniPort was honoured to host the WAUG Games.
“We are happy and honoured to host the high and mighty in politics, business, sports and education on our beautiful and expansive campus. We are pleased to harvest the cultural mosaic of the dynamic peoples of West Africa and spectators from the continent of Africa and beyond. It has been a labour of love as we battled all odds to package the 14th edition of WAUG.”