Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Monday Ebong Uko, has expressed appreciations to Governor Udom Emmanuel for making it possible for the state to emerge second out of the 34 states and Abuja that participated in the National Youth Games in Ilorin. Akwa Ibom athletes won 16 gold, 15 silver and 15 bronze medals
Speaking yesterday, the commissioner said: â€œI knew that we were going to do well in Ilorin, but not this well – I am happy that we acted on Governor Emmanuelâ€™s directive that we organise a Youth Sports Festival for primary schools and colleges in Akwa Ibom and it threw up a lot of potentials in all the sports.â€
Also, Mr. Paul Bassey, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sports, who was in Ilorin said: â€œThat was one occasion where it felt good to be an Akwa Ibomite.â€
Coming on the heels of the very successful maiden Akwa Ibom Youth Sports Festival in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom Chief Executive who is the progenitor of the youth sports fiesta is happy that the state is already reaping the fruits of its grassroots sports development.
From fourth position last year to second this year, the state has made remarkable progress and by National Sports Commission statistics, Akwa Ibom is the â€œgreatest moverâ€ this year placing second out of the 34 states and Abuja that participated at the Games in Ilorin.
The state won two of the three track events that were reserved for the closing ceremony of the Games last Saturday.
Akwa Ibom was an all round competitor as the stateâ€™s medals came from a variety of sports. The state won gold (s) in weightlifting, tennis, boxing, scrabble, chess, track and field, wrestling etc. and were in the finals of nearly all the sports.â€
According to Bassey, the seeming vacuum that has existed in the sports community of a state that before now produced world-class athletes and administrators, â€œprompted Governor Udom to institute a return to the grassroots (schools and colleges) for the discovery and training of budding talents as a foundation for a solid sports future for the state.
â€œThe revolution is on, thanks to Governor Emmanuel and the Sports Commissioner whom we call â€œSports Josephâ€ for his uncanny translation and implementation of the governorâ€™s sports dreams and aspirations,â€ concludes Bassey.
Just last week, Governor Udom Emmanuel facilitated the travelling abroad of the junior national and African sprints queen, Aniekeme Alphonsus, who has gained a collegiate scholarship in the United States of America.