The maiden edition of the Heritage Bank Skoolimpics commenced on Wednessday, November 2nd, at the main bowl of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, with over 1000 students from 200 public and private secondary schools in the state, competing in Track and Field events on Day 1 of the three-day competition.
Skoolimpics, which is an initiative of the financial institution, is aimed at identifying and mentoring budding talent over a long period of time to become medallists at international competitions.
Brand Ambassador of the competition and five-time Olympian, Mary Onyali declared the competition open by running with the competition’s flame round the stadium. A march-past followed swiftly, with the participating students taking turns in groups to represent their various districts from all Local Government Areas of the state, before one of the country’s leading musicians, Sound Sultan thrilled the crowd with some of his hits.
This immediately set things rolling for the day, with the Girls’ 200m taking the first order of races where 35 heats were keenly contested in to ignite the entertainment and excitement around the stadium.
Anita Taviore of Ipakodo Senior Grammar School ran the fastest time of 26.9s in all heats, while Peace Amunike of Dorcas Mermorial College and Alimot Alowole of Homat Comprehensive College, Ikorodu, also recorded impressive times of 27.4s and 28.3s respectively.
In the Boys’ category, Babatunde Joseph of Angus Senior High School, recorded the fastest time of 24.0s, with Ikechukwu Kalu of Western College (24.1s) also posting one of the top times of all 43 heats.
However, the huge number of heats competed in in these events forced the schedule to be adjusted, as some of the events which were initially billed to be raced in, had to be postponed till Day 2.
Meanwhile this didn’t affect the action in the Field events, as the first set of medallists of the mini-Olympics, emerged. Adesewa Saliu of Eva Adelaja Senior Girls, Bariga, won the first GOLD medal of the championship in the Girls’ High Jump, after clearing the height of 1.35m ahead of Precious Nwakaeze and Muinat Busari who both, incidentally, also cleared the same height.
Interestingly, Saliu is the 2015 Lagos State Schools Sports Festival High Jump Junior Champion, a feat she achieved while in JSS 3. The tall diminutive jumper couldn’t hide her excitement after adding another medal to her collection and said to Making of Champions (MoC) afterwards:
“I feel very good because I didn’t expect to win as the people I competed with are better, even though I know I can do better than the height I jumped. My role model is Doreen Amata and I hope to be like her someday”.
In the Shot Put (5kg), Peter James of Ikorodu Senior High School, got the better of his competitors after throwing a distance of 11.46m to secure his first ever GOLD medal in a major competition.
Emmanuel Anyanwu of Creek Senior High School Ajegunle, followed closely with 11.42m, while Peter Adegbuyi of Comprehensive Senior High School Ketu, settled for Bronze with 11.22m.
Other events competed in were the Boys and Girls 400m Heats, Boys Long Jump Qualification and Girls Shot Put.
The competition is set to continue on Day 2 with several events on the line up. Top on the list is Boys/Girls 200m and 400m semis, Boys Long and High Jump final and the 100m Heats.