Miffed by the dwindling athletics fortunes in her fatherland and the need to help young talents achieve their true potentials, former Nigerian 400m women great, Mabel Madojiemu has taken the bull by the horn with the school’s athletics championships.
The maiden competition rolled off the ground last Tuesday at the University of Benin Sports Complex with over 20 secondary schools from Edo State participating. And it was a thrilling encounter for the athletics endowed students who were witnessing such an event for the first time in their young school life.
In some of the events decided, the girls 100m saw Osato Osamuyi of Imaguero Grammar School finishing 12.69 seconds to pick the gold medal, while Happiness Eshiemomoh of Hannah Group of Schools picked the silver at 13.18 seconds, Gloria Ebigie of Idia College was third with 13.54seconds.
In the boy’s race, Liberty Azenakor of Igueben Grammar School proved too strong for the rest of the field. He finished 11.98 seconds to clinch the gold. Jeremiah Aigbeohin of Oba Ewaure Grammar School was second with 12.23 and Kevin Enabule placed third with 12.38 seconds.
In the girls 400m, Happiness Esiemomoh was head and shoulder above the rest as she finished 62.24 seconds to win the gold and a N10,000 cash on offer by Madojiemu being her traditional event. Peculiar Omigie of Igueben College placed second while Mayowa Akinojie of Emotan College finished 67.71.
Elated by the outing, Brisbane, Australia based Madojiemu said: “We have always been talking about grassroots development, it is time we stopped talking and take concrete steps.
“I’m glad the competition was off on flying start and we have to double our efforts to see how we can do more next year.”
Also speaking on behalf of the Edo State government; Edo State Sports Commission chairman, Godwin Dudu-Orumen said that the State government was highly impressed by the efforts made by the 2006 Commonwealth Games 400m bronze medalist.
“This is a competition that will we believe will help the kids grow. Programmes like these are part of what the Edo State government is using as a vehicle for youth development. The government will partner with the Mabel Madojiemu Foundation to ensure that the objective with which the competition was established will be achieved.”
The Mabel Madojiemu Foundation will offer one-year scholarships to the following athletes. Happiness Eshiemomoh, Osato Osamuyi, Liberty Azenakor and Paul Ovbokhan.