The build up to the 13th Imo State Sports Festival got to its zenith on yesterday when the state governor, Emeka Ihedioha lit the Unity Torch inside the Douglas House, Owerri. The Torch is already on tour of the 27 LGAs across the state with the Chairmen of the Interim Management Committees standing by to receive it.
According to the Chairman of the Imo Sports Commission, Chief Fan Ndubuoke, a famous and accomplished athlete or sports personality from each of the councils is expected to receive the Unity Torch from his or her Local Government boss before the Torch moves to the next LGA.“Our plan is to sensitise Imolites and create awareness for the Festival. We want the people to be part of the whole exercise. The exercise of rebuilding Imo through sports. We want them to feel the impact of His Excellency’s passion for sports and its development,” Ndubuoke stated.
Fan added: “The Torch Tour has been scheduled in phases. It will run from Monday to Friday across the Local Government Councils which have been zoned based on their proximity and easy access to all Imolites.”The Sports Festival kicks off on December 5 and will run till December 17. It is to enable Imo Sports Commission select athletes for the forthcoming Edo 2020 National Sports Festival (NSF).
Recently, Governor Ihedioha promised that Imo would attend the NSF in style, which will be a clear departure from the past when they merely attended just for the fun of it.
The governor said he intends to use sports as a key force and factor in his Rebuild Imo project, which has seen him award contracts for the renovation and rehabilitation of Dan Anyiam Stadium, Grasshoppers International Handball Stadium, Old Township Stadium and Indoor Sports Hall. He has also awarded contract for a sports complex behind Dan Anyiam Stadium, which will house a state-of-the-art gym, an indoor basketball hall and a doping centre.
Last Thursday, Ihedioha through Imo Sports Commission organised the first Imo sports summit, which has set the tone for a sports policy for the state and Nigeria at large. The summit was attended by top sports personalities like Dr. Amos Adamu, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, Prof. Ken Anugweje, Prof. Emmanuel Ojeme, Mike Itemuagbor, ACP Chioma Ajunwa, Dr. Kweku Tandoh, Dr. Ademola Are, Dr. Mitchel Obi, Chief Dan Ngerem and Dr. Ndi Okereke Onyuike among others.