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45 Schools To Compete At 4th Lagelu Inter-secondary Schools Relay Race

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Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, will be in excitement mood next year as the 4th edition of the Lagelu FM Inter-secondary schools’ relay race will take place.

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The General Manager (operations) of the Splash/Lagelu FM stations, Tunde Olawuwo, made this known during a press conference to herald the event at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium (formerly Liberty Stadium).

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According to him, this year’s edition has Lagelu 96.7 FM collaborating with the federal and Oyo state ministries Of youths And sports to discover new talents, who would in turn be trained by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN.

“Last year when we cannot do it due to COVID-19 pandemic, I know the number of calls I got. This year’s edition will hold next week, 18th November, 2021 at the UI sports complex where we held previous editions.

“It is an athletic completion put together by Lagelu FM in collaboration with other organizations and it is aimed at discovering and nurturing talents among students. It is also to find talent runners among students in private and public schools. It is both invitational (as a mark of courtesy) and thrown open to those who may want to participate.

“Application is closed. We initially set out to work with 20-25 schools but we got about 44 and we stopped at 45 to manage things. It is going to be challenging but with the help of our partners, we are optimistic of hosting an interesting event.

“Before 2017, we use to have relay race as a sideshow during our marathon to keep people entertained while we wait for marathoners. We are very happy that a lot of youngsters have been discovered. One girl – Taofiqat Sulaiman was one of our discoveries. In 2017, we had a break in communication. Her school pulled out – Abadina College. She was around 11 years. She came to the field crying and one principal, Friday Ogaga got her enrolled in his own school to enable her participate. At the recently concluded national youth games, she was the first gold medalist for Oyo state. We are going to recognize her.

“This event is not a money-making one. We believe that some schools don’t have sporting facility and playground. We want to use this to discover many other talents like Taofiqat.

“It is going to be a 2-day event. By Tuesday 16th, we will screen them to know they are actually 14 and below. It is important game masters know this. You must be 14 as at January 2021. And we are serious about this. Any school who brings in an unqualified athlete will be disqualified. Even if one of your athletes is overage, the school will be disqualified. Any athlete that has ever represented the state in any competition will never be eligible. This is because we plan to discover new talents. Those ones have been discovered already.

“We have 4x 100, 4x 200 and mixed relay. We are taking out 4 x 400 because we realized that most of our schools don’t have the necessary facility. The screening will happen here. They will rest on the 17th and come on the 18th for the event at UI.

He thanked the Oyo state ministries of youth and sports and education, science and technology for the collaboration.

Southwest coordinator of the federal ministry of youth and sports, Femi Ajao, corroborating Olawuwo, said”It is our vision to discover talents. If you have been discovered before, you should not come. Let them discover other talents in your schoo.

“On the technical aspect of the relay, we are fully prepared. AFN will be coming with their event management software. They will input the details on the database. It will be saved on the IAF database. It is not a win-at-all-cost thing. There is no monetary reward. We don’t want anybody to cut corners.

He cited the case of Funmi Oshonaike. “She is still the best till date. She started at age 8. It is very good when you start at a very tender age. We have discovered many talents. The first edition gave us 7 talents who were invited to commonwealth youth camp. Though they didn’t make it to the final thing but it was an honor. Some state will send their scouts. Delta state is winning because it has a good plan and spend money.

“Any school with overage athletes will be disqualified, even at the point of medal presentation.

Mrs. Adegoke of the ministry of youth and sports said that “Governor Seyi Makinde has always been a sports-lover,” adding that “he sponsored the second and third editions.”

She added that the governor is for any value-adding event, adding that the athletes should be allowed to perform according to their ability so that when they go out and excel.

Amb. Romoke Ayinde of Kayrom Lee Gym, commended Lagelu FM for the exercise, saying that “a lot of things are going that we neglect.”

She said age cheat is something that baffles her. “The more reason we are lagging behind is that we don’t catch them young. That was why I went into sporting activities. I ask their parents to, apart from bringing birth certificate, I want trainable kids.”

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