Over 300 young athletes from 25 local government areas of Delta State are expected to storm Ozoro in the Isoko North of the state for the 2018 edition of Dr. Awoture Eleyae U-14 and U-15 Athletics Championship.
The competition, which holds from May 3-5, had produced notable athletes for the country since its inception, including Commonwealth gold medalist in the long jump, Ese Brume in 2013, sprinter Divine Oduduru in 2014 and quartermiler, Praise Idamadudu in 2015.
Coordinator of the event, former Nigerian jumper, hurdler and sprinter, Seigha Porbeni told The Guardian yesterday that Delta State was determined to produce young athletes that will rule the newly introduced National U-15 Youth Sports Festival.
The Dr. Awoture Eleyae U-14 and U-15 Athletics Championships is being sponsored by Solid Works Company, a firm owned by former president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Chief Solomon Ogba.
According to coach Porbeni, about 22 coaches have entered names of athletes from their various local government areas for the event.
The competition is in honour of 90-year-old Dr. Eleyae, a former secretary general of the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa, for his contributions to the nation’s athletics.
Eleyae is called the doyen of Nigerian sports for his production of various stars, including Sam Igun, David Ejoke, A.K Amun, Emilia Edet, Violet Odogwu-Nwajei and the high-flying Modupe Oshikoya.
Porbeni said: “This competition was formerly Dr. Awoture Eleyae U-17 championship, but we decided to re-name it U-14 and U-15 to enable us have a solid team for the National Youth Festival.
At the beginning, we used to select athletes from the three senatorial Districts.
We later changed the format to zonal selection, but now we are having athletes from all the local government areas where we have athletics coaches.”
He stated that all arrangement for a successful competition had been put in place.