Stakeholders at the launch of the maiden edition of Maltina School Games have stressed the need for parents to consider sporting facilities as part of criteria in choosing schools for their wards.
This they believe is necessary considering the growth of the sports industry in the country and the health benefits accrued to its involvement.
Speaking at a press conference recently to unveil the logo for the games, in partnership with the Nigerian School Sports Federation (NSSF), the Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries (NB), Mr. Borrut Bel, said it is paramount to invest in children’s development as he is passionate about sports.
“I throughly believe that for my kids and all children in Nigeria to have sports background is fundamental, so we do not pretend that Maltina can change everything.
“If we can contribute and support the development of the children, make sports fun and be willing to compete across schools. I think that is a great thing.”
He said the initiative is part of efforts by the organisation towards meeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) three- good health and well-being.
The competition involves track and field activities like 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x100m, relays, javelin, shot put, long jumps, high jumps, among others, with participants entering the data base of the school sports federation.
Registration for the games will hold from February 3 to 15; state preliminary will hold between 17 and 21 while the finals will be between 24 and 28. The national finals is expected to hold between March 9 and 13, 2020.
The Head, Public Affairs and Communications, NB, Mrs. Shade Morgan said the programme would capture all secondary schools across the country, adding, “really if you want to achieve a new crop of future leaders in our country, we see there is a great opportunity to invest more in sports and we believe that when Maltina leads the way, other companies are going to be part of this.
“We are not descriminating our schools. Winners will be supported to go and represent Nigeria in international competitions. In addition they will get scholarships, runners-up will get laptops and facilities that would be donated to them by Maltina.
“The intention is to ensure the health and well-being of the children and by holding a competition such as this, you are going to get their brain even more active. Remember the United Nation Substainable Development Goal three is about how you drive the health and well-being of children.”
The President, NSSF, Mrs. Olabisi Joseph, said it has become imperative for parents to let their children imbibe sports culture at a young age.
“Sports facilities is a key factor for parents to consider in choosing their wards’ school as this helps the children to develop cognitive, affective and psychomotive abilities. Sports stimulate learning. The federation would engage the ministry of education on how to re-introduce sporting activities every Friday in the country,” she said.
Meanwhile, Lagos State Government has concluded plans to reintroduce sports into its educational curriculum starting from next session, as revealed by the Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr. Shola Ayepekun.
According to him: “Industry can be build from sports so tapping its economic potential is necessary. The government has concluded plans to reintroduce sports into educational curriculum from next term.”
A Nigerian former track and field athlete and Olympian medalists, Falilat Ogunkoya reiterated the need for a long-term investment in sports especially at the grassroots level.
“Parents should start building sports interest into their children from their homes.”