By Itunuoluwa Shodayo and Temiloluwa Erinle
University of Lagos is one of the hotspots in the entire nation at the moment. Since March 16, various universities from all regions across Nigeria have been hosted in what appears to be the largest university game events — the 26th edition of Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) competition.
Recall that the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe has previously promised that this edition shall prove to be the best so far, “the first of its kind, in a class of its own,” themed “City Games.”
The event is so themed because the games will be played in many parts of Lagos city, particularly in the University of Lagos; Yaba College of Technology; National Stadium, Surulere; Teslim Balogun Stadium; C.M.S Grammar School, Bariga; and St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka.
The first, second, and third days of the 12-day grand events spanning March 16th, 17th and 18th respectively were slated for arrival, registration, and settling in accommodation of visiting institutions and their participants. As at 1 p.m., March 18, more than 50 institutions have had their representatives arrive at the University of Lagos.
Indeed, arrivals have added a lot of excitement, as much as bringing loads of competitive tension nearer, with various schools moving in in style. In some incoming buses the excitement was uncontainable and was aired into joyful chants.
Athletes declared their presence and readiness to battle for the highly coveted medals.
The host institution, University Of Lagos has been welcomed the visiting institutions accordingly. Recall that the cautionary exercise of COVID-19 vaccination was mandated by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the testing took place subsequently before the commencement of the games.
Upon confirmation of negative status for COVID-19, and checking for approval of the vaccination certificate, the sportspersons were given a clearance card and allowed to move into the accommodation prepared for them, ultimately settling in and ready to up their preparations for the august games manifold.
Enquiries made by the Press Club, UNILAG about the number of positive results from the Covid-19 tests have been unanswered so far. However, we shall continue to ask for the data.
As highlighted earlier, preparations for the games are ongoing. In most parts of the host university, one finds athletes preparing earnestly for the games. Activities including swimming, running, jogging, stretching, smashing ping pong ball, throwing hand balls, and moving the Chess pawn onward have kept the visiting teams busy.
While some of the athletes have competed in a former edition of the NUGA competition, others are competing for the first time. Some have gone as far as representing Nigeria in the All African Games before.
The timely bursts of spectacular, masterly exhibitions are not absent. The best displays must however be reserved for the official games, of which some would be afoot in coming days
It is dearly hoped that the games prove to be a tight thread enclosing the widening tears in our nation’s fabric.