Oil and Gas Company, ARCO Group, have extended their partnership with Making of Champions (MoC) for a further three years, following the tremendous improvement and impressive performances recorded by Joy Udo-Gabriel and Jerry Jakpa on the track for the past two seasons.
ARCO became the first corporate organization to partner with MoC in its Student-Athlete Scholarship which kicked off in 2016, with Udo-Gabriel and Jakpa as the first set of beneficiaries. This initiative is the first of its kind in Nigeria, and before long, Shell (SNEPCo), Niger Delta Exploration & Production Plc (NDEP), and ND Western Limited all followed suit and have since awarded scholarships to some of MoC’s budding talent.
Udo-Gabriel, who just returned from the Commonwealth Games where she won a Bronze medal in the women’s 4x100m, and Jakpa, paid a courtesy visit to the ARCO Group Head Office on Wednesday to thank them for their support.
While receiving the athletes, Founder/GMD of the company, Alfred Okoigun disclosed that the organization had decided to extend its partnership with MoC, as well as the scholarship of the duo, which was due to end in 2019, until 2022, going by the progress both sprinters have recorded on the track in a short while. The company also honoured Udo-Gabriel for her feat recorded in Gold Coast, Australia.
He said, “For me, this is a huge delight that in two and half years we can contribute in making Nigeria shine. Joy was able to represent Nigeria for the first time. It was her first time of traveling out of the country and she was able to bring back a medal.
“Jakpa has also stated his determination to do his best. We are very pleased by the performance and I have been able to convince the board to extend this partnership which was initially supposed to end next year, by three years. This is our own way of contributing to youth development in the country.”
Responding to Okoigun’s disclosure, MoC Founder/CEO Bambo Akani expressed his appreciation to ARCO Group for investing in the future.
He said: “Both Joy and Jerry are in university and it would not have been possible to combine training at such a high level with their academics without the support of ARCO Group. So I really want to take this opportunity to say thank you for changing the lives of our athletes and for believing that it is possible to carry out such an initiative in Nigeria. We are truly grateful and humbled by this gesture.”
Jakpa conveyed his deep thanks to ARCO for playing a vital role in his career:
“The journey has not been easy but I’m thankful that I can just relax and focus on my training because of the support I’m getting from ARCO. I’m really grateful for their support and I want them to know that I’m putting maximum effort and maximum hard work to make sure I bring glory to ARCO Group, and I am also fighting for an individual medal. I am also grateful to MoC, my father, and coaches for their encouragement”, he said.
Udo-Gabriel also expressed appreciation to her sponsors for providing an enabling environment for her to thrive by virtue of the Student-Athlete scholarship awarded to her.
She said, “I want to thank God for this opportunity given to me. I also want to say a big thank you to ARCO for believing in us and investing in our career. Because of their support, I can focus on my education and career as an athlete, and I want them to know that I am going to do my best to make them proud. I am also grateful to Making of Champions and my coach Deji Aliu for their encouragement and support.”
The Student-Athlete Scholarship takes care of the athletes’ tuition, accommodation, nutrition, training and competition costs.