Delta State Governor Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa was on Tuesday honoured with a special merit award for high performance and excellence in school and youth sports development in Nigeria by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, (SWAN).
The award was presented to Governor Okowa at the sidelines of the 2021 Zenith Bank/Delta Principals’ Cup finals at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
National President of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Mr Honour Sirawoo said Okowa was being recognised for his outstanding accomplishments in sports development in Delta and Nigeria especially for the state’s winning streak in the National Sports Festival, National Youth Games and revival of school sports including the Principal’s Cup and the Headmaster’s Cup.
Sirawoo further said the governor’s support for the National Team Super Eagles also contributed to his recognition.
“On behalf of the National Executive of SWAN and sports lovers all over the country, I congratulate you, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa on this special merit award.
“This award is well merited and I know you didn’t solicit for it because I know that you are not aware of this award until now.
“As sports writers, we have monitored your antecedents and contributions to schools sports development in Delta as well as your sterling accomplishments in winning the National Sports Festival as well as the National Youth Games.
“It is on record that no state government in Nigeria has contributed as much as your administration to the development of schools and youth sports in the country.
“It is on this note that we have decided to honour you with this special merit award and we hope it will encourage you to do more for sports development in your state and country,” Sirawoo added.
Responding, Governor Okowa thanked SWAN for the award, adding that it would encourage him to do more for sports development in the state.
He said the state was determined to win in all sporting competitions and produce majority of athletes representing the country in all international sports competitions.
“We have just witnessed a very interesting football final match for 5th edition of the Zenith Bank Delta Principals Cup which started in 2016.
“We are very grateful to Zentih Bank Plc our sponsor for this competition for staying true to their promise of sponsorship.
“I want to thank all the schools that presented their teams for the purpose of the competition and I want to congratulate the teams that got to the final,”
He said sports was good for everyone one of us realising that it unites the people in terms of bringing them together.
“Sports also helps to instil discipline for our children and a tool for improving the economy of the families .
“We are developing sports tourism and it’s important that we get our children engaged in sporting activities.
“Only recently we won the 2020 National Sports Festival in Edo state and we want to keep winning in all sports competitions.
“We have also beyond the prize money to be received from Zenith Bank, we have gone ahead to provide a school bus for the winning team.
“I congratulate the College of Commerce Warri, the very first team to win the competition back-to-back and i must encourage them to always put in their best not only in sporting activities but also in their academics.
“I appreciate SWAN for the special merit award presented to me this afternoon.
“They have only made us realise that the little efforts we are putting in is being recognised and we will continue to work hard to ensure that our state presents a chunk of the athletes that represents the country in all international sports competitions,” he stated.
College of Commerce Warri emerged winners of the 2021 edition after defeating Osa Dennis High School Asaba on penalties.
The Warri lads who were winning the prize in a row, got the sum of N1million naira and an 18-seater school bus, while Osa Dennis High School got N750,000 and Alaka Grammar School Ozoro got N500,000 for third position.