Boxing Included In Nigeria University Games As NUGA, NBF Sign Partnership
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By Amaechi Agbo
Ahead of the 2024 Nigeria University Games Competition slated to hold in the ancient city of Jos University, Plateau State, one of Nigeria’s traditional sports, boxing, has been included among the sporting events to be competed for in the games
The President of Nigeria University Games Association, NUGA, Mr Emeka Ogbu disclosed this on Monday in Abuja while announcing the unveiling of the NUGA partnership with Nigeria Boxing Federation, NBF.
The unveiling of the partnership was announced on Monday August 1 2022 at a press briefing in Abuja addressed by the President of NUGA, Mr Emeka Ogbu, the Vice President of NBF, Azania Omo-Agege and the Technical Chairman of NUGA, Prof Musa Garba Yakassai.
Mr Ogbu said the inclusion of boxing into the NUGA games was necessitated by the NBF, adding that the universities in Nigeria are the reservoirs of great talents for boxing and other sporting activities in Nigeria
“This gathering is to announce the unveiling to the whole world much needed partnership between Nigeria University Games Association, NUGA and Nigeria Boxing Federation, NBF. Moves were made in the past for boxing to be part of NUGA games, unfortunately, it was not forthcoming untill last year. Thanks to the new board of the federation through the Vice President.
“As a matter of fact, we have in the universities our children who are full of energy waiting for somewhere to channel these energies. And we are happy to inform you that we are able to integrate boxing which forms part of the sporting programmes in NUGA. Boxing has a lot of benefits to the society in general and to the campuses in particular.
“The initiative couldn’t have come at a better time than now that we have challenges especially security wise, anti-social behaviours like raping in campuses.
“Having made efforts to channel boxing into the games, it will equip especially our female students with the strength and skills to defend themselves. It is a kind of self-defense sport.
“Above that, sports which boxing is part of, remains a linking tool, a bridges builder between campuses , cities and societies.
“Boxing has been proved to be making such purpose in building friendship and creating other social platforms among the students thereby creating unity in the entire nation and beyond. It will also help in giving these students opportunity to showcase their God-given talents both within and outside the country.
“I am happy to inform you that immediately boxing was introduced to the university system in the last NUGA games concluded in March , we were overwhelmed by the number of students who enrolled in boxing both males and females. Based on that, we are now ready to take them out for the first time in the forthcoming World University Games in Turkey in September. Thanks to the Nigeri Boxing Federation, NBF for without them, this could not have been possible,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Nigeria Boxing Federation, the Vice President, Mr Azania Omo-Agege said the need to make boxing part of NUGA games is premised on the fact that the federation believes in grassroots development of the game and catching the emerging boxers young.
He announced that the federation is planning to introduce University Boxing League.
“On several occasions, boxing have been trying to come into Nigeria University Games Association because we believe in catching them young. We had to universities that participated in the NUGA boxing in Lagos. University of Lagos, UNILAG had 52 students that enrolled.
“After the games, we already have about 20 universities who are looking to come in. In the light of this, we are walking on starting University Boxing League which will encourage more schools to enroll and keep them going. It will help to mitigate the stereotype that boxing is a street sport.
“We are very happy that NUGA agreed to partner with us and we are looking forward to how we can get boxing going. We are also asking for sponsorship which will go very far in the sport,” be said.
On his part, the head of Technical NUGA, Prof. Mohammed Garba Yakasai said the association had done boxing demonstration during the 2022 NUGA Games in the University of Lagos, UNILAG stressing brat the turn out of enthusiastic boxer was a huge encouragement
“We have done the demonstration in the last NUGA games in UNILAG in 2022 and we have seen the number of talents that are ready to come in and be part of boxing competition. We already have the combant games such as karate, taekwondo and judo. It is only boxing that is not part and parcel of NUGA games.
“In 2024 at University of Jos, we are going to see a mega boxing game. We have seen a very large number of people come out and there is need for us to catch them young because grassroots is from Nigeria universities.
If you go to the World University Games, you find out that in boxing, most of the talents that are representing their countries in Olympic Games are university students. Therefore, we have to go back to the universities where grassroots sport is. Sometimes we believe in professionalism but most of us that participated in World University Games are those you always see in Olympics representing their countries.
“That does not happen in Nigeria so we want to change the pattern. I ma assuring you that NUGA will not fail this country as far as sports development is concerned. We are going to showcase all these talents in the next NUGA Games in the University of Jos.
They appealed to corporate organisations and private individuals for sponsorship adding that it would go along way in helping to harness the talents in the universities and promote the game of boxing in the country.