By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu
Winners of 2022 Edition of Academicals football cup for primary and secondary schools in Anambra State have received cash prizes of about N4 milion from the state government.
Patrick-Estate Onyedum, Chairman of Anambra State Sports Development Commission gave the money to the beneficiaries on behalf of Governor Chukwuma Soludo at the Commission conference hall last Thursday.
Cash prizes of N1 million and N500,000 were given to first and second place winners respectively in the male and female U17 categories while N500,000 and N250,000 were given to the first and second placed U13 for primary schools respectively.
Onyedum said the administration recognised the differences in the talent endowment of youths and would continue to provide the necessary environment for them to explore them and achieve excellence.
He said sports was a critical component of the youth empowerment thrust of his administration and charged students to give as much attention to talent development as they did to their academics.
According to the Commission Chairman, “we have our Anambra State Sports Solution Initiative (ANSSI) aimed at discovering national and Olympics champions from the earliest age.
“The 2023 edition of ANSSI was very successful, for the first time Anambra became champions in 100m, 200m, 4×100 and Volleyball at the National Youth Games, all these athletes were discovered during our school sports festival.
“We were compliant with age limits, somebody even said they should text our athletes as a matter of fact, three of them are on scholarship in Abuja High School where their parents could not have been able to pay.
“So congratulations for winning the Academicals, even though I had not assumed office when it was played. Take your studies very seriously and whenever the opportunity of sports competition presents itself, grab it with your two hands,” he said.
Onyedum said Governor Soludo had graciously approved that the Anambra School Sports Festival would be a yearly event because of the success of the recent edition while charging schools and students to ensure they took part in the 2024 edition.
Ukpor High School in Nnewi South Local Government Area and Washington Memorial Grammar got N1 million and N500,000 in the male U17 category.
In the female U17, Christ The Redeemer College, Amesi in Aguata Local Government Area and Stella Maris College, Umueri in Anambra East got N1 million N500,000 respectively for first and second place finishes.
In the U13: category for primary schools, Umuaraba Primary School, Ukpor got N500,000 while Anyaegbunam Primary School, Onitsha got N250,000 cash for placing first and second.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Rev. Fr Emmanuel Onuorah, Principal of Stella Maris College, Umueri thanked Soludo for the kind gesture.
Onuorah said the Anambra government was revolutionalising sports by the uncommon attention the grassroots was getting and promised that the school system would help achieve the desired objectives in sports.
“Not every child can solve mathematics on paper, others do it on a football pitch, some intelligent people do not know how to drive but there are some illiterates that are formula 1 winners. So, on behalf of all the schools, I want to thank the state government for big encouragement,” he said.
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