As the University of Lagos (UNILAG) prepares to host the 26th Nigerian Universities Games Association (NUGA) Games, its Sports Management Board says the institution will soon be the country’s sports hub.
The Chairman of the board, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
Oyewo spoke against the backdrop of the university’s performance at the last West Africa Universities Games (WAUG), in Port Harcourt last year.
NAN reports that the competition which commenced on Oct. 31 and ended on Nov. 12, 2018, saw the university coming 2nd on the medals table behind the host university, University of Port Harcourt.
The institution had on Monday received officially its 134-man contingent to the Games with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe giving the athletes letters of commendation and plaques as reward for their performance.
Oyewo said that UNILAG was positioning itself as the sports hub with its planned construction of an Olympic-size swimming pool.
He noted that if there was anything, the lesson learnt from the WAUG was that the university did not come first because there were major sports, such as water sports where it lacked quality representation.
“The University of Port Harcourt came first and UNILAG came second but the gap in terms of the medals table shows that even though we came second, we still have a lot to do to close the gap between us and the university that came first.
“In terms of certain sports, like the water sports such as swimming, we need to step up our game and hence, the need to do the needful in that area, especially with the NUGA that the university is about to host later in the year. We are indeed hosting to win
“There are also other areas that we have noted that we did not even present athletes in,’’ he said.
He said that the university was making efforts to construct an Olympic-size swimming pool to boost the participation of the institution’s athletes in water sports.
“We have already noted some areas of challenge in terms of facilities such as the institution’s swimming pool. Our swimming pool is currently under renovation.
“We need to put this facility in great form because as you know, there are lots of medals in swimming.
“With due respect to other sports like athletics, we are also currently renovating our sports centre.
“There are also team sports like hockey that we need to also step up our game in.
“So, in those areas that we have noticed that we are not up to the speed with other universities, we are addressing them and we hope to attract sponsors that will assist us to invest in putting up these infrastructure,’’ Oyewo said.
The one-time Dean, Faculty of Law, said that the university’s management was also planning to put up a Games Village that would assist to produce top class athletes in all sports.
“This is a concept that other universities have since adopted.
“The Rivers State University, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in Kaduna and others all have places designated for their sports athletes. We do not have such.
“Our athletes share halls. But the advantage of having a Games Village is that you can have all year, all season training and the availability of these athletes will make them bond better, encourage each other, train together whenever there is any competition.
“We have the land for this purpose and the university is also building it into part of the things it wants to do for the NUGA Games,’’ he said. (NAN)