By Jude Okwe
Two world class stadiums that will be equipped with all necessary sporting facilities are under construction in Ogoja and Ikom Local Government Areas by the Cross River State government to help realize its policy of creating jobs for the youths through sports.
An Asian firm, Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) is handling the two jobs for over N3Billion with construction work billed for completion at the end of this year, according to the state Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Raymond Obeten.
The two stadiums when ready will have a capacity for 6,000 spectators each even as ancillary facilities like lawn tennis court, basket ball pitch, track and field for athletics, boxing rings, swimming pool etc to stimulate the interest of the young ones in sports for them to become reasonably empowered.
“Sports standard in Cross River State today is world class.
The administration of Liyel Imoke was not impressed with what it met on the ground so it decided to take to sports development and getting the right coaches to guide our young people with interest in sports accordingly,” he said.
These stadiums, he added, will complement the Comprehensive Sports Development Programme (CSDP) of the state government especially now that two Model Centres for Sports Development will take off in selected Secondary Schools in each of the three senatorial districts.
In the same vein, the state government is working towards commencement of work in its multi-purpose indoor sports hall ahead of the 2014 National Sports Festival which Cross River would host.
Design of the hall is ready and money being appropriated for it in the budget including facilities that will be installed in it, he added.
Obeten said the state government last year took delivery of electronic timing machines for track and field events to enable athletes of the state get used to them stressing that Cross River State government’s intervention in repositioning sports was holistic and that the essence is to expose athletes to the various sports for them to know where to specialize on.
H e also revealed that the Calabar sports stadium swimming pool was undergoing renovation and that equipment in weightlifting, boxing rings, huddle, discus, javelin etc have been procured.
All these, he maintained have added to the rural transformation and urban renewal programme of Imoke to fetch him re-election as he has impacted positively on the lives of the people.
He called on people of voting age to vote for the erstwhile governor to enable him do more for sports and holistic transformation of the state.