By Chimezie Anaso
Two hundred and forty young athletes from primary and secondary schools in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra have qualified for the semifinals of the Anaocha U-17 athletics championship.
The championship is organised by Chief Patrick Onyedum, the Chairman of the council and also Chairman, Anambra Athletics Association.
The elimination series of the grassroots championship, the first in the state commenced on Feb. 3 and had gone round the 10 towns in the council.
They are Agulu, Ichida, Nri, Aguluzigbo, Obeledu, Adazi Ani, Adazi Nnukwu, Adazi Enu, Neni and Akwueze.
Johnny Igboka, Chief Coach, Anambra Athletics Association, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Neni on Monday, said the young athletics had shown a lot of promise.
Igboka said the finalists comprised the best male and female athletes in the 12 events featured in the championship.
He said semi finals would hold on Feb. 28, while the grand finale took place on Feb. 29 at Community Secondary School, Ichida.
He said no fewer than 450 budding athletes from schools drawn from the 10 communities making up the council participated in the championship.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Anaocha LGA said the competition was to re-enact the old tradition of competition among schools as well as using them as hunting ground for future athletes.
Onyedum said apart from serving as a motivation for other councils in the state, the championship would be used to hunt for athletes that would dominate Nigeria field and tracks in future.
“At the end of the championship, the athletes will be handed over to the Anambra Athletics Association for proper training.
“The choice of athletics is simple, I was an athlete, I am into administration of athletics and athletics have potential for medal haul at competitions because it is not a group event like football games.
“So far, the children have been doing well, meaning they have been looking for opportunity to express themselves.
“That is why we named it Anaocha championship, championship that can continue after my tenure as the council chairman,’’ Onyedum said. (NAN)