As the grand finale of the maiden Maltina School Games holds on Wednesday February 11 at the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), the Nigeria School Sport Federation (NSSF) has said that outstanding athletes in the 11 events would represent Nigeria at the International School sport Federation (ISF) tournaments later in the year. /p>
72 athletes and seven officials from Lagos, Anambra, Kano and Abuja will jostle for honours at the national finals which began on Monday February 9 with the finale holding tomorrow.
According to the President of NSSF, Olabisi Joseph, among the aims of the tournament was to groom top athletes that will represent Nigeria at major international tournaments like African Youth Games and Youth Olympic Games.
“We want to expose the students to top class competition at international levels and we are hoping that the outstanding athletes will first of all be handed to the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) with the aim to consider them for major competition as well as groom them to become world stars. In terms of exposure, we will also support them to attend ISF competition this year and this is one of the promises we made to ensure we expose our athletes to international tournament,” the NSSF boss said.
To prepare the athletes for the challenges ahead, a one-day clinic was put together by NSSF under the guidance of African Games medalist, Seye Ogunlewe as well as Olympic medalist, Falilat Ogunkoya.
The clinic according to Joseph was meant to help the students learn from top athletes who have been outstanding on track as well as in schools.
“We are aiming to groom educated champions who can compete very well on track as well as give attention to their studies because for us at NSSF, we give education priority alongside sporting programmes. We believe the students will learn from the likes of Ogunlewe who is also a lawyer as well as Ogunkoya, who is an administrator,” she added.
The Maltina School Games was introduced into the school calendar by Maltina Brand with the aim to promote and foster development and national unity through sports. The overall best athlete is expected to win a scholarship to any federal university of choice.