Over 700 athletes drawn from across Lagos are featuring in this year’s Ilupeju Townships Games (ITG), the founder of the competition, Chief Korede Bisade-Philips, has revealed.
He said the athletes, who qualified from the five divisions of the state, are competing in football, basketball, table tennis, para-soccer, javelin, para-powerlifting, handball, volleyball, track, and field (100m, 200m, 400m), relay, long jump, and marathon to emerge winners. The competition, which began on November 23, will end on November 28.
Speaking at the flag off of the Games at the Basketball Court, Industrial Avenue, Ilupeju Estate, Bisade-Philips, who is the Onipeju of Illupeju, said youths, during the qualifying stages in Ikeja, Badagry, Lagos Island, Epe, and Ikorodu divisions, exhibited skills that could be equated to professionals.
He said: “We have many talents in the grassroots. When I went round to watch their qualifiers it looked as if I was watching professional games because they are very good at the various sports.
“Their coaches are doing a great job. We are even thinking of a situation next year where we organise a training course for all these young players so that they can improve on their skills. In no time, you will see our grassroots players that can compete with professionals even with international players.”
He said COVID-19 protocols are being followed strictly, adding there are medical practitioners on the ground to ensure the athletes are coronavirus-free.
The Divisional Coordinator, Ilupeju Townships Games, Kehinde Owolabi said: “We are expecting athletes and players from the five divisions to showcase their talents because with the results we got from the qualifying stage, they really impressed us. We are going to be discovering athletes that will be representing the country through this ITG.
“Through the ITG, we have been discovering talents for the nation. For those with super talents, after the games, we will continue to train them to achieve their potential.”