CSED (Community Sport and Educational Development) Initiative in collaboration with Nigeria School Sport Federation (NSSF) and Association of Former Female Athletes of Nigeria (AFFAN) recently celebrated the “Olympic Day” with the residents of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) Camp Uhogua (Edo State).
Former Nigerian Olympian, Maria Usifo mentored some of the selected children and youths at this camp. Maria Usifo went back memory lane to tell the children what it takes to become a future Olympian. Maria Usifo who is one of the leading athletics coaches in Nigeria represented Nigeria at Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988) Olympic Games.
Maria Usifo advised the children and youths at the camp to shun drug abuse and work hard in school, while pursuing the benefits of sport.
Maria Usifo stated that apart from helping children and youths to develop a healthy mind in a healthy body, participating in sports could provide the children and youths with future employment opportunities.
As well as the chance to get scholarship opportunities to study in higher institutions in Nigeria and abroad. Maria Usifo stressed that though becoming a future Olympian is tough, but it is an achievable task which anyone can attain through a lot of hard work and support from their coaches and sports administrators.
The former highly respected hurdler and quarter-miler who is a product of a once functional school sports system in Nigerian in the 1970s stated that it was athletics that gave her the choice of choosing from ten foreign universities following her excellent performance at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane (Australia) in 1982.
To spice up the day, four sport events were held. They are cricket (male and female sessions), badminton (male and female sessions), netball and U-13 football game.
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The Trustees of CSED, who were represented by Edema Fuludu (CSED National Coordinator) reiterated their determination to continue to use sports as a tool for social integration, empowerment of the girl child, health promotion, raising awareness of the negative impact of drug abuse in Nigeria. Edema Fuludu stated that CSED Initiative will continue to advocate the importance of children and youths being supported to take part in sport in a safe environment, as well as to take the benefits of sport to hard to reach and displaced children in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria.
Speaking on behalf of the Management of the camp, Pastor Evelyn Ekhator thanked Maria Usifo for sharing her Olympic Games experience with the residents of the camp. As well as the leaders of the three collaborating sports for change NGOs (CSED Initiative, NSSF and AFFAN) for using an event that is celebrated worldwide on 23 June, to visit the IDPs Camp Uhogua. CSED Initiative also used this event to make available to the netballers and the Management of the camp, samples of their “Project 2027,” netball balls.