Port Harcourt agog as WAUG begins, LOC thanks Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike

After months of preparations, the University of Port Harcourt campus came alive yesterday, as the 14th West Africa University Games (WAUG) began.

With more 65 universities from the West African sub-region, over 5,000 athletes, 800 technical officials and coaches, the 2018 WAUG may go down as one of most celebrated and attended in history of the Games. It will end on November 12.

A member of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) told The Guardian yesterday that even though they had not met their financial targets for the Games, Uniport would use the 2018 WAUG to showcase the uniqueness of the institution, its unmatched sporting facilities and competitive spirit.

Team Uniport has won the Games three consecutive times, including the last edition held at the university of Ilorin in 2012.

The LOC had been facing some challenges arising from failure by the federal government to respond to its financial demands for the Games. Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike was said to have come to the rescue of the LOC on Tuesday.

One of the LOC members said yesterday that Wike’s financial ‘bailout’ would go a long way in the organisation of the 2018 WAUG.

“We really appreciate Governor Wike for his financial contributions for the Games. If the federal government had listened to us the way Wike did, we won’t be complaining of financial difficulties. Wike has demonstrated his love for sports, and we are grateful.

“This is a national event, and we cannot afford to fail. People will remember that the 2018 WAUG held in UniPort, but if anything goes wrong, they will call the name of Nigeria for criticism. We will do everything possible to avoid anything that will put the name of our country in bad light before our visitors from the West African sub-region.”

The Guardian learnt yesterday that members of the LOC will meet with Governor Wike today to brief him on preparation for the official opening ceremony, which will hold on Saturday with lighting of the games torch, star parade, cultural dances, art exhibition, goodwill messages and acrobatics display among others.

A total of 16 sporting events are on parade in this year’s WAUG. All the games, expect hockey, will take place inside Uniport sports centre.

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