Prof. Ken Anugweje, the Director of Sports, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) on Friday said that the institution would feature four athletes and a coach at the forthcoming maiden African Universities Olympics.
Anugweje told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the institution was invited by the Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt in conjunction with the Association of African Universities (AAU).
“UNIPORT is to feature in athletics at the University Olympics scheduled for Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt from March 13 to March 20.
“We received a letter from the host university in Cairo that the competition is being organised under the auspices of AAU and that UNIPORT is nominated to represent West Africa in Athletics.
“For other sports like football, basketball etc, I think they chose other universities but I don’t know whether any was chosen in Nigeria,” he said.
He said that the institution was sending two male and two female athletes, including a coach to the competition due to its non-inclusion in the institution’s annual sports budget.
Anugweje gave the names as Joseph Edafiadhe who specialises in the long jump and Blessing Oluwayemi who is a triple jumper.
The females are Favour Ofili who specialises in 400m and 200m and Grace Nwokocha who runs 100m and 200m, while George Obiano is the coach.
The director of sports said that the athletes were selected according to their current performances and standard, noting that they had more chances of winning medals at the Games.
“These athletes are all gold medallists in their respective events and we considered their prospects of doing well. We have gold medallists in other events.
“But when we checked the middle distance, we felt that they might not stand much chance against the East Africans, likewise in the throws where the North Africans have dominance,” he said.
The Universities Olympics is aimed at creating a unique platform for the youth in African universities to dialogue and collaborate towards achieving Africa’s continental initiatives.
Such initiatives, he said, included the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25) and Agenda 2063 (The Africa We Want).