About 20 million students across 36 states of the federation are expected to participate in the Maltina School Games kicking off with registration of competing schools on Monday.
Reports state that the track and field competition for secondary schools was being organised by Nigerian Breweries (NB) plc and Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF).
Local government preliminaries will hold from February 17 to February 21, while state preliminaries will take place from February 21 to February 28, while the finals will take place in Lagos from March 9 to March 13.
Organizers of the championship said that the contest would help develop young talents and build synergy amongst students and schools.
NB’s Managing Director, Jordi Borrut Bel, told journalists in Lagos on Friday that the competition would focus on children’s wellbeing as top priority in accordance with the United Nations goal.
“With over 20 million students in secondary schools across Nigeria, it is evident how much of an impact an initiative such as the Maltina School Games will have.
“Many studies have shown that young people who engage in physical activities and exercise are happier, as our slogan says we share happiness,” he said.
Sade Morgan, NB Corporate Affairs Director, said the games was Maltina’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) focusing on raising a generation of future champions.
“Learning is not just in the classroom, learning outside the classroom is equally important.
“We couldn’t have done this alone without school sports federation, we can’t overemphasize the fact that we have lots of talents in this country, especially in tracks and fields.
“Today, we take this bold step to ensure that we give these children the opportunity and also to mentor them as we should to help them focus,” she said.
Falilat Ogunkoya, an Olympian and member of the games panel, appealed to the organizers to ensure the competition was not a one-off event.
“This was how I was discovered, as a young child, I see myself in these children, with sports, their lives can be changed forever for good.
“I want to appeal that this competition is sustained, it shouldn’t be a one-off, the continuity of this programme lies in the hands of this brand, please sustain this great initiative.
“Rarely do children involved in sports have time to engage in all sorts of social vices,” she said.
Olabisi Joseph, President of NSSF, commended Maltina for the foresight.
“It’s been a while since we had a brand that is interested in tracks and fields and honestly its a breath of fresh air for us: thank you Maltina, thank you Nigerian Breweries.
“We know that there is need to keep this fire burning, we need to give these children something to look up to and also focus on their studies,” she said.