In a bid to shape the future of Nigerian athletics, the “MTN Champs” national development intervention is gaining momentum, with the sponsors expressing confidence in its lofty aims. Ifeanyi Udom, MTN’s Senior Manager, Sales and Trade Development, South West, emphasized the championship’s purpose, stating, “These are talents we expect will put Nigeria on the world stage.”
The Ibadan leg of the MTN Champs Series, the third in the four-series competition, was unveiled at a news conference on Wednesday. Udom outlined MTN’s broader vision, saying, “MTN’s involvement in athletics will no doubt produce a new breed of athletes who will bear the Nigerian flag on the world stage.”
Scheduled from Thursday to Saturday at Lekan Salami Stadium and the University of Ibadan Sports Complex, the competition has already seen significant participation, with nearly 4,000 entries from over 2,000 athletes in the earlier legs held in Benin and Uyo this year.
Raheem Fatai, Director of Sports Facilities at the Oyo State Sports Council, affirmed the state government’s full support, ensuring the event’s success. Segun Omodunni, the Secretary of the Athletics Committee of Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), expressed gratitude for the partnership, emphasizing the need for more competitions to engage and uplift students.
Taldang Tanimu, an Assistant Secretary with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), pledged the federation’s commitment to providing technical support for the competition. MoC’s Country Manager, Deji Ogeyingbo, stressed the importance of taking the competition nationwide to discover and nurture talents, assuring that it is recognised by World Athletics.
Olympic medallist Deji Aliu, Nationwide Meet Director for MTN Champs, and sprinter Enoch Adegoke, the MTN Champs Ambassador for Ibadan, also graced the championship’s unveiling. The competition, spanning three age categories—cadets (under-14), youths (under-17), and juniors (under-20)—will feature events at both Lekan Salami Stadium and the University of Ibadan Sports Complex, aiming to propel young talents onto the global stage.