Bayelsa State has emerged the overall champion of the second edition of the Governor Dickson National Wrestling Classics, which took place at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Samson Siasia Sports Complex, Yenagoa.
Speaking at the event, Governor Seriake Dickson, called for synergy between the state government and the Federal Ministry of Sports, as well as other interested partners in the sub sector for the development of the State’s Sports Academy, Asoama in Kolokuma Opokuma local government area.
Describing the sports facility as a centre for excellence, Governor Dickson emphasised that the partnership was crucial to enable youths excel in sporting and academic activities, as the academy has the capacity to accommodate 1000 students, equipped with boarding and other facilities.
Governor Dickson who said Bayelsa is a natural home of wrestling, announced the state government’s plans to host the national wrestling tournament annually and also directed the state Ministry of Sports Development to organise state-wide wrestling competitions to fish out budding talents.
While congratulating the participants in the wrestling competition, the Governor advocated the need to promote sports development as a viable platform for the mobilisation of youths for national development.
In his remarks, Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung, lauded the Governor Dickson-led administration for its investments, not only in sports infrastructure, but also in sporting activities, especially in the area of wrestling.
Mr. Dalung identified sports as a veritable tool for the promotion of national integration, employment and wealth creation, noting that, sports could also be used to promote a healthy lifestyle.
As a deliberate policy of the federal government to involve the private sector in sports development, he equally charged state governments to key into the policy by promoting various sporting events, where they have comparative advantage to make for easy management of sports in the country.
Speaking earlier at the inauguration of the Daniel Igali Recreation Centre in Yenagoa, President of the National Wrestling Federation and former Olympic Wrestling Gold medalist, Mr. Daniel Igali said the facility was provided to enable elite athletes train properly.
He expressed the hope that in the next 3 months, the facility would secure accreditation from the International Wrestling Federation and attract internationally recognised coaches to train wrestlers at the facility.
The winners of the various weight classes of the Governor Henry Seriake Dickson National Wrestling Classics, which featured competitions in Greco-Roman, Female and Male Free-style wrestling will represent Nigeria at the African Championship scheduled to hold later in the year in Marakesh, Morocco.
Defending Champions, Bayelsa emerged victorious in the Greco-Roman, the Male and Female Free-style categories to retain the over-all trophy.