The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) on Thursday signed a protocol agreement (d'un protocole d'accord) with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) on the establishment of a high performance training centre (HPC) at the University of Port-Harcourt.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) certified centre is nearing completion at the University of Port-Harcourt (UNIPORT) in the southern part of Nigeria.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, on the last day of the just concluded 19th African Athletics Championships 2014 in Marrakech, Morocco, the CAA President, Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, revealed that the African athletics body and world body, IAAF, decided to establish the centre at the UNIPORT "because it will give athletes the opportunity to train and study, "this has been our dream for so long, but I thank God that the dream is now a reality."
Kalkaba-Malboum said countries with rich tradition in track and field in Africa like Nigeria and South Africa, must assist smaller countries to achieve their potentials by providing assistance in all areas.
The Nigerian government was represented by: the Minister at the Embassy of Nigeria in Morocco, Lawal Bappah; President of the AFN, Solomon Ogba; Director of sports, University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Ken Anuweje; Technical Director of the AFN, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama; Special Assistant to director-general of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Mary Onyali-Omagbemi; and director, sports planning, research and documentation at the National Sports Commission, Hauwa Kulu-Akinyemi.
In her response, Mrs Kulu-Akinyemi, who signed the agreement on behalf of Nigeria, thanked the CAA delegation which included vice presidents Vivian Gungaram (Mauritius), Theophile Montcho (Benin) and Violet Odogwu-Nwajei (Nigeria) for establishing the centre in the country.
She stated that she's 100 per cent sure that the centre will be a success because in its infancy, the centre has produced potential world-beaters like Ese Brume, winner of the women's long jump gold medals at both Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Marrakech 2014 Africa Athletics Championships and Divine Oduduru - a 200m finalist in Marrakech.
The director of the Port Harcourt HPC and AFN's technical director, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama also thanked the CAA for their faith in Nigeria and promised the centre will justified such faith and fulfill its objectives.