L-R: Mr. Thankgod Otorkpa, General Manager, Regional Operations (South), MTN; Mr. Friday Okuwe, Senior Manager, Brand, Media and Sponsorships, MTN; Mr Emmanuel Ebong, Vice President Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), and Mr. Taldang Tanimu, Assistant General Secretary, AFN.

The stage is set for the second leg of MTN CHAMPS holding at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, from October 26th to 28th, with nearly 2000 athletes poised to compete across three age categories.

A Press Conference was held on Wednesday, October 25th, to herald the event, and some of the dignitaries in attendance were Thankgod Otorkpa, General Manager, Regional Operations (South), MTN; Friday Okuwe, Senior Manager, Brand, Media and Sponsorships, MTN; Njide Ken-Odogwu, Manager, Sponsorships; Mr Emmanuel Ebong, Vice President Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF); Taldang Tanimu, representative of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, amongst others.

Mr Emmanuel Ebong, Vice President of the Nigeria School Sports Federation affirmed Uyo’s readiness to host the second leg of MTN CHAMPS.

In his welcome address, Ebong disclosed that Akwa Ibom was ready to showcase the immense talent available in the state.

He said: “We have a history of hosting big championships I want to appreciate Making of Champions for identifying with us, knowing quite well that at the grassroots we have budding talents that abound in the nooks and crannies of the nation, and Akwa Ibom State is not an exception. We want to appreciate you because you know we are the custodian of the children and a nursery for you to tap. Akwa Ibom is ready, and I assure you that you’re going to have great fun, excitement and thrilling moments as far as this competition is concerned, coupled with the peaceful nature of the state.”

Thankgod Otorkpa, General Manager, Regional Operations (South), reiterated MTN’s commitment towards the progress of Nigeria’s youth.

On his part, Otorkpa highlighted MTN’s interest in getting the youth engaged in productive activities so as to curb their excesses.

He said: “At MTN, our contribution to Nigeria’s sports industry cannot be overemphasised, particularly in respect to CHAMPS. We believe that if you catch them young, you’ll be able to bend their minds on time. This is modelled after what obtains in Jamaica. Athletes are discovered at a very young age and then nurtured, taking them from the local stage to the global stage. At MTN, we are very particular about the future of the minds of these young ones, and bringing them together in an environment like this to prepare them for the global stage cannot be overemphasised, so we’re stopping at nothing to ensure that we do all it takes to secure these young ones.”

Friday Okuwe, Senior Manager, Brand, Media and Sponsorships, MTN, says their organisation wants to provide a platform to showcase the potential of Nigerian athletes.

Okuwe noted that Making of Champions’ values resonated with MTN as a brand, hence their decision to sponsor the ground breaking event holding across four cities.

He said: “The core essence of what MoC does, made us throw our weight behind the project because we believe in the human possibilities, and that people have the potential to go as far as possible if supported. We also believe in providing tools for doers. There is an abundance of energy and talent but most times, what is lacked is the opportunity, and we will provide the platform for people to make progress. It’s not just about putting in the resources but about doing the real work, and we are prepared to go the mile to ensure that our kids become future champions because in MTN we believe in making life brighter for everyone.”

Taldang Tanimu, AFN’s Assistant General Secretary, says the body is prepared to offer their technical support as usual.

Taldang reiterated AFN’s support in ensuring that MTN CHAMPS Uyo is a huge support by offering their technical support and expertise.

MoC’s Country Manager Deji Ogeyingbo revealed that five trophies would be won by the top schools across the three age categories, namely Cadet (U-14), Youth (U-17) and Junior (U-20), while the six Most Valuable Performers (MVPs) and four Golden Performers would be sponsored to the Grand Final in Abuja.

Yemi Galadima is a Senior Sportswriter and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games, Olympics and World Athletics Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.


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