Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State has been crowned champions of the 2018 Senator Ike Ekweremadu Youths Sports Championship held over the weekend, winning a total of 18 gold medals.
At the grand finale of the championship which took place at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, Awgu Local Government Area football team won the third place football match, defeating Oji River Local Government football team 4 – 1 in a penalty shootout.
The football finals played between Ezeagu and Aninri saw the Ezeagu team winning by 2-0. Ozo Chukwuebuka scored the first goal in the first half. The second goal came after just five minutes in the second half.
In the basketball female finals played between Awgu and Aninri, the former won by 24-10. In the men’s final, Oji River defeated Udi Local Government Area by 54-34.
Meanwhile in athletics, Oji River took first position in men’s 100metres finals. In the men’s 4x100m relay, Awgu took the first position while Aninri and Udi came second and third, respectively. In 4x100m relay, Oji River came first, Awgu second while the third position was won by Aninri.
Winners of the youth championship, Ezeagu Local Government Area went home with a trophy and a cash prize of One million Naira. Second-placed Aninri received a cheque of five hundred thousand Naira, while third-placed Awgu took home a sum of three hundred thousand Naira.
Other awards included the Golden Gloves which was won by the goalkeeper of the Awgu team, Gerald Okafor. He went home with fifty thousand Naira. The Golden Boot went to three players who scored two goals each during the championship. They were Michael Chukwudi (Oji River), Anikwe Ifeanyi (Oji River) andJude Arukwu. Each of them got fifty thousand Naira. The Best Behaved Team was won by Oji River. Obinna Nwobodo, captain of the Awgu football team was awarded the “Most Valuable Player”.
Dignitaries at the occasion were Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, his deputy, Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, some federal and state legislators and Nigeria’s ex-international, Kanu Nwankwo, among others.
The championship kicked-off a fortnight ago at the Awgu Township Stadium, with youths from the five local government areas of Enugu West Senatorial District comprising Aninri, Awgu, Udi, Oji River and Ezeagu competing in football, basketball and athletics.
At the opening ceremony, the president of the Senate and sponsor of the tournament, Senator Ekweremadu explained that the sports fiesta was intended to inculcate the spirit of sportsmanship in the youth, foster healthy competition and friendship amongst them and provide opportunities for them to flourish in sports.
“Nigeria’s sporting might has declined significantly because the nation has neglected grassroots sports over the years. All hands must get back on deck to reverse the trend and bring back the glorious days,” he said, adding, “it is also my hope that participants in this Championship will play for club sides in and outside the country and also represent Nigeria in the near future”.