The best of school sports will be on display as the 4th edition of the Lagos State Secondary School Sports Festival, tagged ‘Ibile Games’ takes off on Monday, January 26, across various centres within the metropolis.
The games, which started in 2012, are being organized for all public and private secondary schools within Lagos State and has been used as a platform to discover and develop talent at both junior and senior categories in line with the developmental focus of Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration. It is also used to prepare the state’s athletes for the National School Sports Festival (NSSF).
Over 200 public and private secondary schools representing the different Local Government Areas (LGA) and Local Council Developmental Areas (LCDA) in the state are expected to participate in 21 events including Athletics, Gymnastics, Football, Scrabble, Table Tennis, Basketball and Swimming, amongst many others.
According to the Main Organizing Committee of the games headed by the Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social -Development, Wahid Enitan Oshodi, some of the venues for the events are Teslim Balogun Stadium, Rowe Park, National Stadium Surulere, Agege Stadium, UNILAG Sports Complex, Tafawa Balewa Square (Cricket Pitch) and Jubril Martins Secondary School.
Over 120 senior secondary schools from all the 57 LG’s and LCDA’s participated in the first edition of the games. The 2014 edition saw the emergence of Lagos Island Local Government as Champions of the senior category with 366 medals (151 Gold, 108 Silver and 107 Bronze). Surulere followed with a distant 36 Gold, 32 Silver and 41 Bronze medals while Team Ibeju Lekki came third with 29 Gold, 27 Silver and 27 Bronze medals.
In the junior category, Team Lagos City Senior College, Sabo, Yaba, were outstanding in the boys’ category while Wesley Girls Junior Secondary School, Sabo, Yaba dominated the female category.
This year’s edition looks more promising, with the participation of more schools and students, and the inclusion of Deaf Sports Athletics amongst the list of sports in the competition. It is also expected that there will be an improvement in the turnout of spectators to cheer the students as this is a huge stepping stone in the discovery of future talents for the country.
Jamaican stars such as Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who were thrust into national and global prominence from their Secondary School Athletics Championships called ’CHAMPS Jamaica’ , have now become world beaters in their respective events. With proper organization, the same can hold true for Lagos State and Nigeria at large.