By Edem Edem, Calabar
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof. Zana Akpagu has commended athletes of the institution for their outstanding performance in the 2016 Nigerian Universities Staff Sports Association (NUSSA) games and the 2017 Nigerian Universities Games Association (NUGA).
Prof. Akgagu who gave the commendation at the Abraham Ordia Stadium during the reception in honour of UNICAL athletes described them as worthy ambassadors of the institution.
He said the athletes have written their names in gold for making the institution proud, adding that the remarkable feat would go down in the annals of history.
The Vice Chancellor who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (academic), Prof Uche Amalu said, “it is a remarkable feat for Unical to be fully represented at the games and I am happy that you have made us proud by bringing back laurels’’
He also reiterated his administration’s commitment to sports development even as he promised to address the challenges the athletes may have faced during the competition to enable them maintain the winning streak in future competitions.
Also speaking, the Director of Sports, UNICAL, Dr. Mrs. Pauline Ekuri who congratulated the athletes for their outstanding performance said they have made history by bringing back medals.
She appreciated the Vice Chancellor for his concern over the needs of the athletes despite the prevailing financial challenges the University of facing, stressing that this lifted the team’s spirit in the competition.
Dr. Ekuri said that many first generation Universities were not in Kaduna for the staff games but Unical was fully represented with a contingent of 47 athletes and 17 officials.
She said team UNICAL finished 4th on the overall medals table out of 35 universities that participated at the games, just as she commended the victorious athletes for their courage, steadfastness and discipline in and out of the field of play.
The Director of Sports said the Staff games are also for physical fitness and social interaction among staff from sister Universities across the country, adding that Unical will continue to participate in the games to guarantee the physical and mental capability of workers to boost productivity.
She also saluted the gallantry of students who participated in the NUGA games and came out with medals despite the circumstances under which they participated.
Dr.Ekuri said the non payment of school fees by most star athletes adversely affected the institution’s placement in the NUGA games medals table.
She said preparations for both the NUSSA games and the NUGA games would soon commence as soon as she receives directives from the organizers of the games.
Bar. Paul Ebiala who spoke on behalf of staff that participated in the competition thanked the University for giving them the opportunity to showcase their God-given talents at the competition.
He called on the Vice Chancellor to raise the bar in terms of providing adequate financial and logistics supports to the athletes to enable them sustain the winning momentum.
Highpoint of the occasion was the award of prizes to the deserving athletes. At the NUSSA and NUGA games held in Kaduna and Benue states team UNICAL carted home 18 gold, 37 silver and 10 bronze medals.