WAUG-UniPort 2018 Opens October 31 By Otikor Samuel and Williams Wodi


All is now set for the opening ceremony of the 14th West African University Games tagged: WAUG-UniPort 2018. About 5,000 student-athletes, 400 coaches and 500 technical crew members from 85 universities in 16 West African countries are expected to converge on the University of Port Harcourt for the competition next week. The Local Organising Committee is headed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Regina Ogali, while Director of the Sports Institute, Professor Ken Anugweje is Coordinator of all the events, venues and facilities.

Participants are expected to arrive on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 for the opening ceremony billed for Saturday, November 3 at the Sports Centre, University Park with colourful march past. The 14th WAUG-UniPort competition was earlier scheduled for 2016, following the successful hosting of the 13th edition by the University of Ilorin in 2012 with 56 universities in attendance.

Information sourced from the Local Organising Committee revealed that about 60 universities had already registered for the 14th WAUG games. Events to be competed for include athletics, swimming, judo, tennis, badminton, table tennis, squash, chess, football, javelin and volleyball. Others are handball, basketball and cricket. Hockey is the only event that would hold at the Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium, Igwuruta.

Arrangements have also been concluded to engage sports scholars at the WAUG Forum with Sports in West African Universities and West African Universities in Sports as its theme. The Forum is being anchored by Chairman of the sub-Committee, Professor Athanasius Amasiatu and is expected to take place between November 1 and 2 at the ICAN Lecture Theatre, University Park at 10:00am.

On the state of readiness of the LOC, the Chairman, Professor Ogali stated that the University was expecting over one million spectators to witness the events. “It will be a memorable game for both foreign athletes and those in Nigeria because we already have a Games Village where there will be non-stop music, dance and cultural displays. We will showcase the trademark hospitality of the Niger Delta people,” LOC Chairman added.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, described the games as a symbiosis of scholarship and sports. He pointed out that the fiesta would foster greater friendship among the youths of West Africa, reminding stakeholders of the University's rich pedigree in sporting organisation, having successfully hosted the Nigerian University Games Association in 1988 and 2004.

“You will be bound by the oath you will take to compete fairly, honestly, transparently and without resorting to unorthodox means of obtaining victory. For instance, it would be a big disgrace if any athlete decides to become a drug cheat just to secure a tainted victory that will certainly defeat the true spirit of the games. You must harbour no fear of losing because you are all winners by just taking part in the games and this special honour goes far beyond merely winning an event,” the Vice-Chancellor warned the athletes.

It should be noted that Team UniPort is WAUG defending champion, having won on three consecutive occasions. Team UniPort has the winning DNA ingrained in its genetic make-up. Sequestered in camp for a long time to prepare for actual competition, the athletes and officials are fired up with the competitive adrenalin to take the coast of West Africa by storm.

For instance, the total medal haul of Team UniPort at the 13th WAUG games hosted by the University of Ilorin, Kwara State in 2012, was by far better than the miserly harvest of all the other participating teams combined! Team UniPort carted away 48 Gold, 26 Silver and 19 Bronze medals, while the 2nd position went to University of Benin with 9 Gold, 5 Silver and 9 Bronze medals. It was a dominant performance that momentarily transformed Unique UniPort to UniSports—a true symbiosis of scholarship and sports in the finest tradition.

Stakeholders would recall that the University of Port Harcourt had won the 11th and 12th editions of the games held in Burkina Faso and Ghana, respectively. The exploits of Team UniPort are in addition to winning the 25th edition of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) back-to-back for the sixth time, including the last one hosted by the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, in April 2017. Team UniPort emerged winners after sweeping the medals table with a princely 70 Gold, 47 Silver and 33 Bronze medals. Some observers have even suggested that the all-conquering Team UniPort should host this one and attend subsequent NUGA and WAUG games in “observer capacity”—since there is apparently nothing new to prove to the world.

With a record-shattering number of eighty-five universities expected to jostle for medals at the 14th WAUG games in Unique UniPort, the Main Organising Committee (MOC), spectators and revellers are guaranteed heart-stopping action on and off the pitch. While UniPort is hosting to win, the essence of the games—friendship, understanding, cross-cultural exchange, regional integration and intellectual exchange among scholars and students in West Africa—cannot be emphasised enough.

You are here: Home News & Events Featured News WAUG-UniPort 2018 Opens October 31 By Otikor Samuel and Williams Wodi