The 26th edition of the Nigerian University games, NUGA, officially ended at the University of Lagos, Akoka, on Saturday evening.
The 10-day event started on March 16 and ended on March 26 with the University of Port Harcourt retaining her position as champion over 70 other universities. The Port Harcourt university clinched over 90 medals in 16 different sporting events.
The closing ceremony of the event started around 5 p.m. at the university pitch with the presence of dignitaries from the academic and business world.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, led dignitaries from such as the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Pro-Chancellor of the University of Jos, Attahiru Jega; Chairman of NUGA, Stephen Hamafyelto, and others, to the closing ceremony.
At the ceremony, participating schools matched in front of the audience with an aura of excitement and fulfillment.
The host, the University of Lagos, thrilled everyone with their different dance steps. Mr Ogundipe joined the dancers as they danced to the popular “Zazu Zeh” song.
While addressing the audience, Mr Ogundipe appreciated all the sponsors of the events for their support.
He said the university has set a standard that any the next hosts of NUGA will work hard to attain.
Mr Ogundipe also called out the Abubakar Balewa University student who proposed to his long-time girlfriend on Tuesday as he blessed their union.
He ended his speech by putting off the NUGA torch and appreciated the NUGA President, Mr Hamafyelto, for the belief in the institution as he handed over the Games’s flag to him.
The closing event began with trophies presented to the top three institutions on the Medals Table.
The University of Port Harcourt won 120 medals, University of Lagos, 86 medals, and debutants Nile University won 38 medals. These three universities were awarded trophies while the Port Harcourt was declared the overall winner of the event.
Benson Idahosa University was also awarded a prize as the best-behaved institution.
During the many celebrations, PREMIUM TIMES had moments with some athletes and student leaders to know how they felt about the competition.
Marvelous Asemota, a student from Benson Idahosa University, won two gold medals in 100 and 200 metres races.
The Computer Education 400-level student said she was happy to have won the medals for her institution.
She said her determination and hard work paid off despite the fact her coach never thought she would compete in the 200 metres.
Stella Anyaleke is another athlete who was excited to participate in the NUGA competition. Being sidelined for a year due to a broken arm, Anyaleke returned and raced to a gold medal in the 110m women hurdles.
The 400-level Human Kinetics student from UNILAG told PREMIUM TIMES, “It is very overwhelming, nice for the NUGA games to be hosted in my school.”
Stella said the period she was sidelined due to injuries was ‘disappointing’ as she could not participate in any sporting event for a year.
She said NUGA made her return to training where she was able to win her medal.
Abayomi Animashaun was another student excited about the NUGA event. The 400-level student of Human Kinetics from Ekiti State University said he was excited that he won three medals including a gold in the Table Tennis event.
While speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, Yomi, as he is fondly called by friends, said winning a medal serves as a booster to his career.
“The competition is more like a national tournament. It’s very competitive, I didn’t expect this at first. It was such a good competition,” he said.
He, however, advised that subsequent events should improve on the welfare of athletes.
“Just improve on the accommodation, that’s the most important thing.
Where the athletes should stay must be clean and very condusive.”
Toyosi Afolayan, the sports secretary of the University of Ilorin, said the host university performed above average.
Toyosi complained about the short duration of the Games, which, he said, could have caused fatigue for many of the students.
While speaking about his school’s performance at the event, Toyosi said; “A wonderful outing I must say. We didn’t start on the right foot but we bounced back and started to pick our medals.”
He said his university has improved on the medal table.
“Last time out we came sixth, this time around we are going home as the 4th overall best university in the tournament.”
Ojelabi Blessing, also from Ekiti State University, said that the University of Lagos performed beyond expectations.
The EKSU athlete suggested that more sporting events should be added to the future editions of the competition.
The University of Jos is the next destination for the 27th NUGA Games.