Posted by News Express | 20 January 2020 | 1,162 times
Domestic Rugby activities are ongoing all over the country with the return of the beautiful game to the biennial National Sports Festival.
This is happening after ten years of Rugby’s absence from the Nigerian version of the Olympics.
It would be recalled that Rugby last featured as a medal winning event in 2009 after its first appearance at the Gateway Games in 2006.
Prior to that, the game went through the mandatory three demonstrations and exhibitions in 1998 edition in Imo State, led by Obong Ntiense Williams who is fondly called Mr. Rugby within Nigeria’s sports circles.
In 2019, Rugby returned as one of the six optional sports that the host state, Edo, selected as their advantage sports, courtesy of the Chairman, Edo State Sports Commission, Barrister Godwin Dudu Orumen and Williams.
During the 2018 Sports Festival, Edo State (which did not participate) had defended and won the 2019 hosting bid by the Executive Governor of Edo State Mr Godwin Obaseki.
Today, there is excitement as a result of this unique feat which has put smiles on the faces of Rugby players in the country as they are preparing to go and slug it out at the Ministry of Youth & Sports organised Team Sports Zonal Qualifiers / Eliminations taking place from Monday, January 20 to Thursday, January 23, 2020, taking place in all the six geo political zonal centers.
Speaking to News Express earlier in the day, ‘Mr Rugby’ said, "This is the only genuine way to develop the game in the country. The biennial National Sports Festival, alongside the annual National Youth Games, are veritable tools to develop the game in the country through the states."
Continuing he said, "The number of states involved in Rugby grew between 2006 and 2009, but drastically reduced thereafter. Today however, the readmission of Rugby in the festival has brought about new states like Akwa Ibom, Yobe, Bayelsa, Benue, and Bauchi getting involved in the gentleman's sports, thereby capturing all the six geo political zones of the country for the first time."
The states participating for the zonal qualifiers include Yobe, Bauchi, Benue, FCT, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kano, Kaduna, Kwara, Oyo, Niger, Osun, Ogun, Lagos, Abia, IMO, Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and the host state Edo.
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