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Sport Groups Celebrate Olympic Day With Children In Edo IDPS Camp

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – As part of activities to mark this year’s International Olympic Day, Community Sport and Educational Development (CSED) Initiative in collaboration with Nigeria School Sport Federation (NSSF) and the Association of Former Female Athletes of Nigeria (AFFAN), celebrated with the children and youths in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp in Uhogua community, Edo State.

The International Olympic Day is celebrated annually across the world. The first Olympic Day was celebrated on 23 June in 1948 by countries including, Venezuela, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Portugal, Greece, Austra, Great Britain and Uruguay.

The day was initially observed to promote the idea of the Olympics and in order to celebrate the establishment of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This IOC was formed on 23 1894 in Sorbonne, Paris.

Moreover, the day is important as it aims to attract people, regardless of their age towards the Olympics. Its three pillars are move, learn and discover which is aimed at engaging people to perform physical exercises.

The highpoint of the events jointly organized by CSED, NSSF and AFFAN to mark the 2021 Olympic Day with children at the Uhogua IDPs Camp in Ovia Northeast Local Government Area of the state, was the mentoring session facilitated by a former Nigerian Olympian, Maria Usifo.

While addressing the children living in the camp, Usifo, who is one of the leading athletics coach in the country and represented Nigeria at Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988) Olympic Games, went back memory lane to tell them of what it takes to become a future Olympian.

She also advised them to shun drug abuse and work hard in school, while pursuing the benefits of sport, adding that apart from helping children and youths to develop a healthy mind in a healthy body, participating in sports could provide the children and youths with future employment opportunities.

She further stated that children’s participation in sporting activities can also enable them to secure scholarship opportunities to study in higher institutions in Nigeria and abroad.

The former highly respected hurdler and quarter-miler who is a product of a once functional school sports system in Nigerian in the 1970s, also disclosed that it was athletics that gave her the choice of choosing from ten foreign universities following her excellent performance at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane (Australia) in 1982.

Usifo, however stressed that though becoming a future Olympian is tough, but it is, according to her, an achievable task which any one can attain through a lot of hard work and support from their coaches and sports administrators.

In addition to the mentoring session, four other sports were held which include, cricket (male and female sessions), badminton (male and female sessions), netball and U-13 football game, to further spice up the day for the children and residents of the camp.

Moreover, the CSED Initiative also used this event to make available to the netballers and the management of the camp, samples of their “Project 2027”, netball balls.

In his remarks, the National Coordinator of CSED, Edema Fuludu reiterated their determination to continue to use sports as a tool for social integration, empowerment of the girl child, health promotion, raising awareness of the negative impact of drug abuse in Nigeria.

Fuludu, who represented the CSED Trustees at the event, reassured that the CSED Initiative will continue to advocate the importance of children and youths being supported to take part in sport in a safe environment, as well as to take the benefits of sport to hard-to-reach and displaced children in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria.

While speaking on behalf of the management of the camp, Pastor Evelyn Ekhator thanked Maria Usifo for sharing her Olympic Games experience with the residents of the camp. She also expressed her gratitude to the leaders of the CSED Initiative, NSSF and AFFAN for using an event that is celebrated worldwide to visit the IDPs Camp Uhogua.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=64650

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