UNIPORT bracing up for best ever WAUG games

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Students fighting it out in the handball event during the 13th edition of WAUG Games held in Ilorin, Kwara State. UNIPORT says it will

• 85 Universities, 16 Sporting Events On Parade
The 14th edition of the West African University Games (WAUG), will be the biggest and most competitive in history of the games, a member of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Prof Ken Anugweje, has said.

The Games will hold at the university of Port Harcourt from October 31 to November 12, with new modalities. Unlike previous editions, the UNIPORT 2018 WAUG will see diploma students or students in affiliated centres of universities not being eligible to compete. It will be strictly for undergraduate and postgraduate students, as the LOC moves to curb the influx of mercenaries at the Games.WAUG is a version of the Olympics Games for West Africa students. The 14th edition of the Games was originally billed for November 22 to December 4, 2016, but was shifted because of the Commonwealth Games.

According to Prof Anugweje, a leading voice in Nigeria and African athletics, the WAUG Games are aimed at fostering greater friendship among youths of the West African sub-region in addition to providing an opportunity for West African universities to promote good health through sporting activities.The mission of the University of Port Harcourt is to be ranked among the best universities in Africa, renowned for its teaching, research, creativity and innovation in academic advancement, but Prof Anugweje says the institution would use the WAUG Games to equally prove to other universities in the West African sub-region that they are the master when it comes to sporting activities.

The Vice-chancellor of UNIPORT, Ndowa Lale, as well as the deputy Vice-chancellor and Chairman of the LOC, Anthony Ibe, had said in separate interviews that the school was prepared to host the 2018 WAUG in terms of facilities and logistics. Prof Lale said Uniport had a rich pedigree of hosting successful games, which dates back to 1988 when it hosted the Nigerian Universities Games Association (NUGA), and in 2004, when it hosted the nation’s tertiary games.

Lale said the institution places high premium on sports, hence it had invested heavily in facilities and equipment saying: “We are the first University in West Africa to construct the new Myrtha swimming pool technology. We have consistently remained the number one university in sports in Nigeria and West Africa. We currently host the only IAAF/CAC High Performance Center for English speaking West African countries, where athletes participating in major games and championships receive coaching tutorials,” he stated. Lale urged government at all levels, corporate Nigeria and philanthropists to join hands with Uniport to host the best WAUG ever in Nigeria. He also stated that investment in sports would boost the economy, engage youths, curb crime and boost tourism.

“WAUG is the gathering of the best brains in West Africa, tomorrow’s leaders who combine academic and sporting excellence. Hosting a well-organized and successful game will make the participants leave Nigeria with a positive impression, which will shape their perception of Nigeria forever,” Lale added.According to the chairman of media and publicity sub-committee for the Games, Williams Wodi, participants will start arriving in the Garden City on October 31 ahead of the opening ceremony on November 3. The closing ceremony holds on November 11.

Wodi told The Guardian yesterday that 85 universities from 16 West African countries are expected to participate in the Games, adding that 60 universities had already been registered.He said: “A total number of 16 sporting events will feature in this year’s WAUG, and all the events, expect hockey, will take place inside Uniport sports complex. The hockey event will hold at the Adokie Amiesimaka stadium. We are expecting 5,000 athletes, 400 technical officials and 500 coaches,” Wodi stated.It would be recall that in 2012, the University of Ilorin hosted the 13th edition of WAUG Games with 56 universities in attendance.

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WAUG is the gathering of the best brains in West Africa, tomorrow’s leaders who combine academic and sporting excellence. Hosting a well-organized and successful game will make the participants leave Nigeria with a positive impression, which will shape their perception of Nigeria forever.