The event will take center stage across four locations: Benin, Uyo, Ibadan, and Abuja.
The Schools’ Athletics Championships is a first of its kind in Nigeria.
During a press conference on Wednesday, 4th October 2023, at the Nordic Hotel in Lagos, to unveil the championship, telecommunications giant MTN was announced as the title sponsor.
To ensure a hitch-free competition, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and the Nigeria School Sport Federation (NSSF) are also partnering with the organizers of the historic initiative, Making of Champions (MoC).
Some of the dignitaries at the momentous event include MTN Acting GM, Consumer Marketing – Idowu Adesokan; Chief Corporate Services Officer – Tobechukwu Okigbo; Chief Marketing Officer – Adia Showo Senior Manager, Brands, Sponsorship & Media – Friday Okuwe, Senior Manager, Consumer Marketing – Debo Agu, AFN President Chief Tonobok Okowa, AFN Technical Director Mr. Samuel Onikeku, MoC Chairman Engr. Olu Akani, NSSF Vice President Emmanuel Ebong, amongst others.
Schools’ Athletics Championships: Powering Dreams and Supporting Sports
In her address, Sowho noted that MTN Is proud to be a part of the vision of MTN CHAMPS as it really sits at the heart of what the brand stands for.
“MTN is committed to Nigeria’s young people, and what we’re trying to do is power the dreams of these young people and provide them with the platform and technology that they need to take on the world. MTN CHAMPS now joins the group of initiatives we have, and we hope to provide our young athletes with the platform to shine as they learn life’s valuable skills: we hope that this initiative contributes to their overall well-being and success in life.
“The 10 best athletes discovered from CHAMPS will join the MoC Academy and will have the benefit of a structured training schedule, which teaches them the importance of discipline, time management, and valuable skills that they will be able to bring in sports and in life.
Also, MTN has a commitment to developmental sports not just for the accomplishment of individual goals, but for national aspirations as well, the discipline, the rigor, and the passion are profitable for nation building which our beloved Nigeria needs.”
MTN CHAMPS: Filling A Huge Gap for Talent Discovery
AFN President Okowa insists on the need to produce a pool of young athletes who will take over from their older counterparts. A gap MTN CHAMPS will bridge.
“I am the main beneficiary of what is happening here today. When the older ones are fading out, what happens if you do not have the younger ones coming up? So, grassroots sports development is the key to success. At the National Youth Games (NYG), the age bracket is between 12 to 15, but for those between ages 15 to 20, there are no proper competitions, and MoC has just rescued us from that challenge through the MTN CHAMPS.
“I want to say thank you to MTN for the sponsorship, and thank you to MoC. With these competitions, these athletes will look forward to these competitions and will train towards them, because sometimes we lose the athletes between 15 and 18 because no good competitions to keep them going. We at the AFN will give you every support you need.”
Athletics Finally Getting a Funnel For Development
On his part, Akani highlighted the immediate and imminent rewards of staging MTN CHAMPS and appreciated the efforts of all the bodies backing the initiative.
“I am happy that we now have MTN identifying with our efforts to take Track and field to lofty heights in Nigeria. This is indeed a monumental turning point in our country’s history in school sports and in Athletics. I have the conviction that MTN CHAMPS will unearth and foster athletics talents across the country and will become the primary platform for identifying and nurturing promising athletes who can represent Nigeria in future international competitions.
“Indeed, MTN CHAMPS is a cumulation of years of sacrifice and investment that has been made in the last decade by MoC to bring Nigerian athletics to where it needs to be, and now together with MTN, we can collectively uphold the vision and scale it to the highest standard imaginable that will ensure a resurgence of Nigeria’s bold footprint in global athletics.