Lagos State, on Wednesday, emerged the overall winner of the first edition of the Maltina School Games held at Yaba College of Technology, Akoka, Lagos.
The state won with 21 gold medals, 12 silver and five bronze, while Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, came second with four gold medals 13 silver and 10 bronze.
Kano State came third with three gold medals, four silver and eight bronze.
The victorious Team Lagos State went home with a cash prize of N5,000,000, while outstanding athletes will be given scholarship worth N500,000.
Ibrahim Anifowose, a student of Keke Secondary School, Lagos, told newsmen that winning the scholarship would help his parents to provide for his educational needs.
According to him, “I am so happy that I was selected as one of the most outstanding athletes. I have always loved sports, but this has given me the encouragement that I need to remain focused.
“I will learn to manage my time effectively, so it doesn’t affect my studies. I will learn to balance the two.”
Speaking, President of Nigeria School Sports Federation, NSSF, Olabisi Joseph, told newsmen said that sponsors like Maltina had given the children an opportunity to discover their talents.
Her words: “I know these children’s lives are changed forever. This wouldn’t have been possible without our sponsor, Maltina. Some of these children will continue to pursue athletics as professionals.
“I believe that there is so much we can achieve; talents are everywhere and we just need to continue to harness their potential.”
Meanwhile, spectators’ body temperature was checked at the entrance and hand sanitisers given in order to prevent the possible transmission of coronavirus disease.
Dr. Ademola Are, Director of Grassroots Programme, Lagos State Ministry of Sports, said the ministry was committed to building a synergy with NSSF.
He said: “Discovering these talents is not enough and that’s why I am here today, watching. These children have proven that we cannot just leave them alone.
“Maltina has taken a good step in the right direction, but we need them to continually show commitment; the Athletic Federation of Nigeria must be involved.
“There is a need for a synergy among all parties involved I believe by so doing we will achieve so much.”
NAN reports that the track and field competition for secondary schools was jointly organised by Nigerian Breweries (NB) plc and NSSF.
Sade Morgan, NB Corporate Affairs Director, said the games were Maltina’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) focusing on raising a generation of future champions.
“Learning is not just in the classroom, learning outside the classroom is equally important.
“We couldn’t have done this alone without school sports federation, we can’t overemphasize the fact that we have lots of talents in this country, especially in tracks and fields.
” Today, we take this bold step to ensure that we give these children the opportunity and also to mentor them as we should to help them focus,” she said.