3,000 participants celebrate 2013 `Olympic Day Run’ in Abuja

Various government agencies and officials participated in the event.

No fewer than 3000 persons marched through the streets of Abuja on Saturday, to commemorate the 2013 “Olympic Day Run.’’

The event was organised by the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), in collaboration with the Federation of Public Service Games (FEPSGA).

Sani Ndanusa, the President of the NOC, said this year’s event was unique as it marked the beginning of Nigeria’s preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

He pointed out that the country’s poor outing at the 2012 London Olympics had put the NOC on its toes, to ensure that the country prepared adequately for the next games.

“I want to tell Nigerians that we have learnt our lessons in the last Olympics and we are using this event to reposition ourselves and our sports, to prepare for the forthcoming mega events.

“This marks the beginning of our partnership with the military and Paramilitary towards the Commonwealth Games, “Glasgow 2014’’ and the Olympic Games, “Rio 2016’’.

“The NOC is proud to be part of the Olympic Day Run or Olympic Day Celebration that is captured all over the world. It is celebrated in the 204 Olympic nations of the world and I am glad that Nigerians and indeed athletes are rising up to the occasion.

“Today marks a special day, especially here in Abuja, because we have all the service chiefs and the Paramilitary represented.

Gbenga Elegbeleye, the Director-General, National Sports Commission (NSC), said as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the country would continue to promote sporting activities.

Mr. Elegbeleye said negotiations had started to ensure that the NSC partnered with the NOC to celebrate the 2014 edition of the “Olympic Day Run’’.

The Commandant-General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ade Abolurin, said his officers and men had started preparations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“We are preparing, moving from one part of the country to the other, in the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN’s) selections and we are excelling as we move from one region to the other.

“The preparation is high because this time around, we don’t want to come back home without any medal,’’ Mr. Abolurin said.

He said apart from the Commonwealth and the Olympic Games preparations, NSCDC athletes were also preparing for the 2013 World Athletics Championship billed for Moscow, Russia, in August.

Mr. Abolurin assured that the calibre of athletes being nurtured by the NSCDC for the championships were capable of doing the country proud. He said the passion for the nation to succeed would always drive the participation of NSCDC personnel in sporting activities.

Victor Orji, President of FEPSGA, also said the federation was pleased to be part of this year’s Olympic day run.

Mr. Orji noted that the collaboration with the NOC in the Olympic day celebration was a golden opportunity for the Nigerian worker to join in the campaign for mass participation in sports.

Participants at the event included top government officials and a large number of public servants, who walked and jogged through the roads within Area 10’ and Area 1’.

A commemorative football match was also held between the Ministry of Justice FC and the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, with the former winning by 2-1.

Certificates and trophies were given to participating teams at the event, which also served as the FEPSGA’s keep fit/walking and jogging exercise for the month of June.

The event, an international Olympic Movement activity, that seeks to promote mass participation in sports, was first held on June 23, 1894.


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