The stage is set for the maiden Government College Ughelli, GCU Relays

More than 20 secondary schools in Nigeria will compete at the inaugural edition of the Government College Ughelli (GCU) Relays scheduled for Saturday 17 November, 2018.

According to the organising committee for the GCU Relays, the one-day event will be held at the ultra-modern tartan tracks recently presented to Government College, Ughelli by the Shell/NNPC joint venture.

Roy Odoko, the Secretary-General for Government College Ughelli Old Boys Association, said in Lagos that the GCU Relays 2018 is targeted as a vehicle to promote social integration through strategic development of athletics and the restoration of healthy sports rivalry among secondary schools nationwide as it was in the old days.

Some of the schools invited are Kings College, Lagos; St.Gregory’s College, Obalende- Lagos; Igbobi College, Yaba-Lagos; Government College, Ibadan; Edo College, Benin-City; Federal Government College, Warri; Hessey College, Warri; Urhobo College, Effurun; St. Patrick’s College, Asaba; and Orogun Grammar School, Orogun.

Others are: Government College, Umuahia; Queens College, Lagos; Idia College, Benin-City; Baptist Girls School, Agbor; Oharisi College, Afisere-Ughelli; Anglican Girls Grammar School, Ughelli; St. Theresa’s College, Ughelli; James Welch Grammar School, Emevor and Anglican Girls Grammar School, Asaba.

Having produced several world-class athletes in times past who went as far as representing Nigeria at the Olympic Games, a member of the GCU Relays planning committee, Ejiro Omonode said he is confident that more talents will be unearthed with this new initiative.

Omonode who finished from GCU over three decades ago and represented Nigeria in Cricket as well was state champion in Tennis called on corporate Nigeria as well as other individuals to support this noble course.

He said: “The GCU Relays is essentially about getting back the glory days of athletics with schools sports. Also, we have been fortunate to have a modern track put together by Shell Petroleum Development Company and for us, such facilities should not be meant for only local inter-house sports.

"We should expose it to the rest of the country and that is why we are inviting schools, especially schools that we shared traditional relationship with over the years; the government colleges, the federal government colleges and some of those elite schools of the past.

"The door is open for individuals and corporate organisations to partner with us, support cannot be too much. Brands are attracted to properties that are highly of quality and attraction and so we expect that as we make progress, the brands will come in their droves.”

GCU Relays is an inter-collegiate invitational athletics competition that will feature 100m, 200m, 4x100m relays and 4x400m relays for boys and girls.

The organisers are quite ambitious, hoping to rival the likes of the Penn Relays in no distant future.