Aare Afe Babalola, proprietor of the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, (ABUAD) has commended the former Nigerian international athletes behind the Basic Olympic Opportunity Sports Training (BOOST) project while pledging his support for their efforts to revive competitive schools sports in the country.
Aare Babalola, spoke while receiving Chief Mary Onyali (MFR) in Ado-Ekiti who was on a courtesy visit. She told him “it is our intention to clone ourselves with better specie of Nigerian kids to return our nation to success in international sports.
Onyali commended ABUAD for establishing the Talent Discovery Centre, a multipurpose indoor sports facility with a swimming pool saying, “you have envisioned our bringing this project to Ekiti that is why you have built this gigantic sports laboratory in wait for us.”
She said further, “we seek the partnership of the University to deliver a centre for sports excellence in Ekiti state. With the quality of support you have given to us, we shall be starting our first elite athlete development project in January 2016 in wait for the 2020 Olympics and beyond.”
Aare Babalola said “in November, our University will host the rest of the nation’s private universities in a sports meet. We shall put in place a whole lot of sports facilities and equipment which will help us to meet the yawning gap you have also identified.”
“Already, the ABUAD Teaching Hospital has commenced. This will complement the sports science medicine requirement of the project. I had always looked forward to finding a set of Nigerians that would take the bull by the horns and say we must drag Nigeria back to the global sports leadership where Charlton Ehizuelen, Nduka Odizor, Sadiq Abdullahi, Modupe Oshikoya before the generation of Onyali, Falilat Ogunkoya, Sunday Bada reigned.
“We shall do all that is within our powers to ensure that this project takes off immediately in Ekiti state. I am happy that part of the children that will benefit from the project are from Ekiti and are Nigerians. I congratulate you for this well thought out project,” Chief Babalola said.
Onyali had informed her host that eight sports disciplines would be introduced to kids in primary and secondary schools with the objective of grooming them into sports stars to redeem the country’s sports fortunes. Six such centres will be laid out before December 2016, one each in every geo-political zone of the country.
The sports are badminton, handball, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, tennis, weightlifting and athletics. The elite athlete development centre in Ekiti State will have swimming, table tennis, tennis, weightlifting and athletics.
Onyali listed the initiators of the project as Prof Sadiq Abdullahi (Tennis), Bose Kaffo (table tennis), Pat Itanyi (Athletics), late DSP Sunday Bada (Athletics), Shaibu Amodu (football), Ruth Balofin-Ogbeifo (weightlifting) and Olajide Fashikun (handball), who accompanied her on the visit, among others.
Fashikun, the former captain of the Nigerian handball team and former Zamalek SC of Egypt player, thanked Aare Babalola for the “outstanding colossal investment you have perfected for the future of this nation through this university.
“You have effectively called to modern scrutiny the concept of human capital development. A living enigma who never attended beyond secondary school to have so invested in education and now sports, I seek to know any Nigerian leader who will contest your space in the sands of time and history, he observed.

READ ALSO  NBA to play first game in Africa