*More national, international championships for Port Harcourt
Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the United World Wrestling African Championships on Sunday said it was overwhelmed with the presence of spectators at the event.
The LOC Chairman, who is also the Rivers Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye, made this known to sportswriters at the Alfred Diete-Spiff Sports Complex, venue of the tournament in Port Harcourt.
He said that this was the first time a West-African country was hosting the championship and it took place in Port Harcourt.
“We are happy about it and we are overwhelmed with support we have gotten from our people because we never expected this kind of huge spectators.
“What I saw here last night was a bit surprising, even with the light hic-cup, spectators did not go and they were there till the end of the matches.
“You see the excitement in everybody, most of them did not know that wrestling is interesting and we have now known that it can compete with any other sports in the Niger Delta,” he said.
According to Iyaye, the state government will be willing to host national and international events should the opportunity come because the state is always willing to do so.
“Hosting such events, will not only erase the negative thoughts about Rivers but also act as a tourism destination for visitors and you can see the market out there, that petty traders are happy.
“We will always take advantage of the opportunities when it comes and I’m sure the Gov. Nyesom Wike will fund it if the fund is available,” he said.
The chairman said that there had been challenges, especially when you have over 500 athletes and officials from all over Africa.
He, however, said that the tournament had been a huge success.