Over 7,000 athletes and 500 schools are set to compete for over 1,000 medals and 32 school team titles in the first edition of the MTN CHAMPS, The PUNCH reports.
The championship, which is sponsored by telecommunications giants MTN, is organised by the Making of Champions, in partnership with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and the Nigeria School Sports Federation.
The competition, which is spread across three age brackets — the cadets (U-14), youth (U-17) and juniors (U-20), will be held in four cities across the country — Benin City, Ibadan, Uyo and Abuja.
The championship holds from October 12 to 14 in Benin and in Uyo from October 26 to 28. In Ibadan, the MTN CHAMPS takes place from November 9 to 11, while in Abuja it will hold from November 29 to December 1, with the grand final in Abuja slated for December 2.
At a press conference held on Wednesday in Lagos, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN, Adia Showo, said the 10 best athletes from the championship would join the MoC Academy and wouldhave the benefit of a structured training schedule, which would teach them the importance of discipline, time management and life skills.
“MTN is committed to Nigeria’s young people and what we are trying to do is power the dreams of these young people and provide them with the platform and technology that they need to take on the world.’
“MTN CHAMPS now joins the group of initiatives; we hope to provide our young athletes with the platform to shine as they learn life’s valuable skills: we hope that this initiative contributes to their overall well-being and success in life,” Showo said.
AFN president, Tonobok Okowa, stated at the event, “I am the main beneficiary of this championship because there are no proper competitions for these age cadre and MoC have just rescued us from that challenge through the MTN CHAMPS.
“The athletes will look forward to these competitions and will train towards them, because sometimes we lose the athletes between 15 and 18 because no good competitions to keep them going. We at the AFN will give the competition every support it needs.”
On his part, founder, MoC, Bambo Akani, highlighted the benefits of staging the MTN CHAMPS and appreciated the efforts of all the bodies behind the initiative.
He said, “I am pleased that we now have MTN identifying with our efforts to take track and field to lofty heights in Nigeria. This is indeed a monumental turning point in our country’s history in school sports and in athletics. I have the conviction that MTN CHAMPS will unearth and foster athletics talents across the country.”