EVEREST EZIHE writes that considering the importance of sports in the overall development of a nation, Senator Chris Anyanwu says her approval for using her father’s name- Hon. N.D Ukah in establishing a Sports Academy by a group of professional sports men and women is because their overall mission is anchored in grooming and harnessing sporting talents in all the nooks and crannies of the Eastern Heartland state.
Anyanwu who’s the first daughter of the late sporting icon who died in 1970 at 51 as an accomplished man disclosed this over the weekend while declaring the well-attended sporting activities marking the official unveiling of the sporting academy open at the football pitch of Holy Ghost College, Owerri.
According to her, “many people knew my father who died in 1970 aged then 51 as a high profiled sports person, an administrator par excellence, an astute politician, an educationist and a historian among other things. He represented integrity and credibility in all endeavours of his life as he never identified with mediocrity.
‘’Nigeria as a country is endowed with so many sporting talents that are begging for discovery. These potential talents are in every community in Igboland and the organizers of Hon. N. D Ukah Sports Academy must fish them out, train them and harness their potentials. We need to raise many Kanu Nwankwo’s. Sports is life. Sports men and women understands the tenets of competitiveness, excellence and have no time for anti-social vices.
‘’In my days in Owerri Girls and other schools I attended, I was very active in sports especially athletes and I still do sports to keep fit” she pointed out.
Anyanwu who is also one time Commissioner for Information, Culture, Youth and Sports in Imo State advised the organizers on the need to ensure that the talents discovered are exported abroad for maximum benefits.
She equally challenged them to organize a sporting fiesta by December to show case their sporting products while announcing that some of the grand children of N.D Ukah in diaspora have expressed their support for the project by donating a competitive boxing cup as well as sporting facilities that would aid them in their trainings.
Responding, Coach Charles Dike who’s the General Coordinator of the Hon. N.D Ukah Foundation in which Hon. N. D Ukah Sports Academy is a department expressed gratitude to Senator Chris Anyanwu for accepting to sponsor the sports talents hunt project.
Dike described late Hon N.D Ukah as a pillar of sports in Mbaise ancient clan noting that the Sports Academy named 51 years after the deceased death is to further immortalize him considering his immense contributions in the growth, advancement and transformation of sports during his era and within the communities in the ancient clan.
The activities which also happened at Owerri Girls with display of cultural dance, playing of Scrabble, female in house football match and athletic displays was an entertainment galore just as the novelty match played at Holy Ghost Secondary School field between Alvana Modern Secondary School,Owerri and Army Day Secondary School, Obinze ended 1-0 in favour of enterprising and skillful Alvana.