***As Foundation Science, Army Day, others cart away School titles
By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
No fewer than 800 youth athletes converged on Abuja at the weekend to compete in the MTN CHAMPS Grand Finale including 43 Most Valuable Performers (MVPs) drawn respectively from the Benin, Uyo and Ibadan legs of the competition.
The event was a culmination of a journey of eight weeks across four different cities which finally came to a fitting climax at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, on Sunday, December 3, 2023.
At the end of the Abuja leg of the tracks and field events including Cadet or U-14 Boys and Girls category, Army Day School emerged winners in the Cadet Boys’ class where they garnered 38 points to beat Doveland International (34 points) and Foundation Science (33 points).
However, Foundation Science bounced back in the Cadet (U-14) Girls’ category, topping the table with 63 points to finish ahead of Nigerian Tulip International (33 points) and Army Day (16 points). Foundation Science gained points from the likes of Mwuese Zoko who took a Bronze medal in the Cadet Girls’ 100m and Silver in the Long Jump, and Juliet Ikhianosimhe who claimed Silver in the 400m.
Also, Chosen International was the team to beat in the Youth Boys category where they scored 40 points while Foundation Science was 2nd with 37 points, and Doveland International 3rd with 35 points.
However, Nigerian Tulip International dominated the Youth (U-17) Girls’ category with 60 points as the duo of Miracle Ezechukwu and Chigozie Kanu won pivotal points for their school in the Youth Girls’ 100m and 200m respectively. They were followed by Army Day (33 points) and Zuba Government Secondary School (30 points) respectively.
Team MVP emerged the top team in the Junior (U-23) category with 279 points, followed by Coach Felix Academics (116 points) and Karu Government Day which scored 82 points.
The six MVPs and four ‘Golden Performers’ from MTN CHAMPS Abuja were unveiled at the end of the competition.
Team MVP’s pair of Faidah Abdulhamed and Lucky Ebe were named MVPs of the Cadet Girls’ and Boys’ categories respectively. Abdulhamed claimed a Silver medal in the 100m and Bronze in the 200m. On his own part, Ebe, a hearing-impaired athlete, stormed to victory in the sprint double to earn a place on the list.
Miracle Ezechukwu was unbeaten across the Youth Girls’ 100m and 200m and named MVP in that category. Hamza Dalhatu of Makkah Academy emerged Youth Boys’ MVP, courtesy of his Silver medal in the 200m.
Dynamic’s Comfort Sule secured her spot as Junior Girls’ MVP after racing to a Bronze medal in the 200m. Osama Chibueze outclassed all his competitors in the Junior Boys 100m and 200m, striking GOLD in both events to become Junior Boys’ MVP.
The four Golden Performers were Chizoba Gift Onyemauwa who won 400m GOLD and 200m Silver in the Cadet Girls’ category, Fervent Imoh who secured 200m Silver and 100m Bronze, also in the Cadet category, Chigozie Kanu who won double Silver in the 100m and 200m in the Youth Girls’ category, and Khalil Saleh who raced to a 100m Silver in the Youth Boys class.
20 Athletes across the four locations have been shortlisted in the final selection phase, with 10 of them eventually making it into the MoC Academy sponsored by MTN. READ ALSO:
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Meanwhile, the three day event at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, on Sunday, December 3, 2023, had several athletics fans and dignitaries in attendance, including the Special Adviser on Economic Affairs in the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria, Mr Tope Fasua; President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Chief Tonobok Okowa; President of Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Mrs Olabisi Joseph, and Chairman, Making of Champions (MoC) Board of Directors – Engr. Olu Akani.
Others were top officials of the sponsors, MTN like the Non-Executive Director, Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru (MFR); MTN General Manager, Brand and Communications,
Emamoke Ogoro; Senior Manager Public Policy/ Corporate Relations, Anas Galadima; Senior Manager Go-to-Market, Osaze Ebueku, and Acting Regional General Manager North West Region – Ohwofasa Obazenu.