It was an interesting one week at the West African University Games hosted by the University of Port Harcourt with so much that would have surely gotten you attention.
Away from the track, field events and indoor events, I took my time to do a “Behind the Scenes” coverage of the event, focusing on the athletes.
Who really were these athletes? Where did they come from? And what exactly did they really want?
How can I forget the fact that Organisers ensured that athletes, officials and guests were fed fat to their satisfaction with some even claiming that they were eating too much.
Well away from that I had a sit out with some of the athletes, had chats with them.
Thompson Blessing and George Onome of the Hockey Team representing the University of Nigeria (UNN) told ChinaAcheru.com that they had been friends since junior secondary school.
Well I don’t know how many of my secondary school friends I still remember but here they were.
Onome said she convinced Blessing to join the hockey team.
Then I asked myself if only those in charge would encourage this event to give the country a better chance in getting gold in an Olympic Event.
An Undergraduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University Oluwa Adegoke won the 100m men’s race in 10.24sec. Impressive!!?!!
He claimed how much of an inspiration his coach was to him and how being an athlete has changed him to be a better person.
Talking to this athletes I observed that a lot can be done to take young people off the streets and their addictions.
It’s funny how most parents don’t want their youths to participate in Sports yet expect them not to join the wrong circle of friends.
Talking to William Wodi, the chairman of the Media/ Publicity sub- committee of the games, he said, the hosts, University of Port Harcourt has always been a sporting school.
“With the objective of the School not just hosting to win but to host with a very good standard, according to the WAUG, the school wants to win but will win free and fair,” Wodi told ChinaAcheru.com.
“The School wants the athletes, officials and guests to leave with remarkable memory of Uniport being arguably the best in terms of hosting competitions in the whole of West Africa.
“The hosts not topping the medals table would have been news,” He added.
He sounds like a proud man but I wouldn’t blame him. The host topped the medal table at the end of the event, like they have done in many other events at home and away. He has earned his right to be proud.
Now to an interesting part of my sit down chat with Williams Wodi, I deviated slowly from “serious topics” by asking how much the host had planned to control sexually Transmitted diseases which were almost inevitable in an event where they had over 1million people in and enclosed environment.
In big sporting events, what would usually make news will be the mount of condoms distributed during the games for the athletes, officials and visitors, but maybe the Uniport was different.
Before the World Cup in Brazil it was announced that one billion condoms would be distributed with the Nigeria Football Supporters Club asking for sixty two million of them.
What about the University of Port Harcourt and the West Africa University Games?
He said “I’m not going to join you in turning the school into a moral Policeman.
“We made it known that everyone who will be participating must be over 18years of age where they’ll be responsible for their own actions,” he said.
“Well not what I expected,” I said as I leaned backward hoping I wasn’t going to be thrown out of his office. I know it’s only sane and normal to ensure Sexually Transmitted Diseases are not being spread, but he disagreed saying it was none of the schools business.
“If they decide not to participate it’s their concern. It’s a free society and everyone has the right to do whatever he/she wants.
“They have the duty to regulate themselves even if they want to get married the University has a church to join them.”
I sighed heavily as I said my goodbye.
What can I say?