*Want to produce children to better my tennis feats
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has praised Nigeria’s tennis star, Nduka Odizor known as the Duke for his decision to include the state amongst the six centres where children will benefit from the programme he has put in place to bring up new kids on the block.
Governor Okowa who received a delegation led by Odizor in the Government House in Asaba said, as a government we had worked out a new plan to activate the sports leadership status of the state. Just at the weekend we had the Principal Cup reintroduced among secondary schools with a plan to make primary schools join the programme from next year. I am so impressed by the standard shown by the children.
Your coming to add value to our efforts are well appreciated. We thank you for the N10million worth of equipment. We shall immediately identify the centres and shall go ahead to put in place all that will be required to make the programme a resounding success.
I have always reiterated the fact that in any activity we engage in as a state, we shall compete fairly with only athletes trained in the state. Delta will not buy athletes to win, for instance, the National Sports festival. We want to ensure a massive introduction of children in the state to sports, that is the best thing we can do and we welcome others willing to invest in the sector in the state.
You will be working with our commissioner for Education (Basic and Secondary), Chiedu Ebie. We are particularly thrilled by the age of your coverage which covers primary schools.
Speaking earlier, Odizor told the Governor that his project, Duke Odizor International Tennis (Do It) Foundation has began its programme delivery with a visit to Ondo State will be located in six centres across the country. Five other sports will benefit from the programme.
It is my ambition to start this process to produce children, male and female, that will be better than me. It saddens my heart when I look back and no Nigerian has threatened and beaten the feat I achieved in the sport. This is part of why I have embarked with my fellow retired athletes to set up the Basic Olive Opportunity Sports Training (BOOST) project.
We are expecting the state to identify two tennis courts each in every of the Senatorial districts including Kwale where I have come from wherefrom we shall train the children. Also to gain from our programme will be a boxing centre in Sapele, kiddies athletics, weightlifting, wrestling and table tennis.
In his comments, the Director General of Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc. (NSDFI), Mr Olajide Fashikun said, “we are working on bringing one million children into sports within the next three years. We shall give them the proper basic training from inception, create local and national tournaments for them, expose and prepare them for international sports. Our country is too big to go to world championships and the Olympics praying for a single medal. We have started the pilot in Offa in Kwara State. Ondo and Delta will enjoy the part one of our deliveries.”
Odizor presented the governor with two personal rackets and a first tranche of the equipment which included canvasses, wears, tennis rackets, soccer boots amongst others.
Also on the visit to the governor were Chief Mary Onyali, Hon Ned Nwoko, Mr Godwin Osigbeme.