Athletes and officials from the University have been selected, as part of the Nigerian contingent to the 29th World University Games (WUG), holding in Taipei, Taiwan, between August 19 and 30, 2017, themed: “University Sports: Globalising and Universalising Participation”. According to the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA), the decision was taken because “of the University’s role in the development of sports in Nigeria”. The athletes and officials are: Miss. Naomi Oyinloye, a Postgraduate student in the Department of Zoology, College of Biological Sciences (COLBIOS), Female Badminton; Miss. Folashade Adedotun, Department of Chemistry, College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS), Female Table Tennis; while Dr. Sam Olabanji, Acting Director, Directorate of Sports; is to lead the team from FUNAAB.
It would be recalled that, the University contingents to the recently held 25th NUGA had excelled in the competition that took place at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State, by winning 1 Gold, 4 Silver and 8 Bronze medals. For NUGA, the University had over 70 athletes that took part in eight different sports such as Squash, Badminton, Chess, Table Tennis, Tennis, Taekwondo, Athletic and Hockey. The Squash female team won the Gold for the University by defeating the defending champion, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), in the finals by two straight sets. Prior to the games, the Squash female team of the University recently performed outstandingly during the Squash tournament to commemorate the 80th Birthday celebration of the nation’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Other sports that produced medals for the University were: Badminton, Chess, Table Tennis, Taekwondo and Tennis. The University of Port Harcourt came first at this year’s event followed by Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Reacting to the University’s results at the games, the Acting Director, Directorate of Sports, Dr. Sam Olabanji, stated that this year’s results was better than the last one, held at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife in 2014. According to him, the athletes were improving and it was a reflection of hardwork and sign of commitment on the part of the coaching crew.
Dr. Olabanji, who has been selected as an official for WUG, suggested that for optimum performance by the coaching crew and the athletes in subsequent games, there was the need for the University Management to grant discretionary admission to some identified and talented athletes, seeking admission into the University, most especially, those that possessed the basic requirements. He noted that the Directorate requires more sporting facilities and equipment, to perform very well in future competitions. He added that the University’s performance at other tournaments could also be enhanced when scholarship awards were given to the Gold medalists, alongside other incentives like financial reward and befitting reception.
He added that letters of commendation could equally be issued to all the members of staff that played one role or the other towards the success of the games. The Acting Director noted that the Directorate needed more coaches as technical staff, to support the present staff on ground, in addition to having a bus, to convey athletes to major events. Meanwhile, it would be recalled that the University emerged 17th position out of the 57 universities that it took part with 1 Gold, 4 Silver and 3 Bronze Medals at the 24th NUGA, held in OAU in 2014 while the 26th edition of the games would be held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), in 2019.
In another development, Vice-Chancellor House which is Orange House, has emerged top at the just-concluded inter-house sports competition at the FUNAAB Staff School. The Vice-Chancellor’s team pulled a total of 363 points ahead of Bisi Soboyejo House (Blue House) with 357 points and ‘Nimbe Adedipe House (Yellow House) with 333 points, while Julius Okojie House (Green House) came last with a total of 328 points. The keenly-contested game brought a sense of togetherness and unity among the staff and pupils of the School, most especially, as the School is celebrating its 20 years of existence. Expressing her joy during the presentation of trophies to victorious athletes, the Head Teacher of FUNAAB Staff School, Mrs. Florence Alade, said that the School would be looking forward to holding a bigger inter-house sports competition, while thanking God for the success recorded. Mrs. Bukola David-Olaleye, a staff in the school, noted that sport is life, which informed the inter-house sports competition, which is held biennially. However, the game has been on hold since 2013, due to some challenges. Describing sports as part of learning and education, Pastor (Mrs.) Omotayo Obidare, one of the parents present at the event, said the game was interesting and thanked the school management for a well done job.
The duo of Ademola Kajola and Teniola Olajide, two pupils from the School equally expressed happiness at the games because it had brought them together with their friends in other classes. The Chief Host at the occasion and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of FUNAAB, Professor Oluyemisi Eromosele, who was represented by Mrs. Oluwatoyin Dawodu, the immediate past Head, Senate and Admissions Unit, congratulated FUNAAB Staff School for the efforts put into organising the inter-house sports competition, as she charged them to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship as they compete in the various games.