Igbo sports veterans with specialties in boxing, wrestling and Judo karate, yesterday accused Federal and state governments of focusing only on soccer (football), thereby abandoning boxing, wrestling and judo karate which the Igbo nation is known for.
Making this disclosure to newsmen in Onitsha, an ex-International boxer, Chief Edwin Ogbonna, (a.k.a .Super) said that, “Igbos are known for boxing, wrestling and any other thing that has to do with hand.”
“These aspects of sports are going into oblivion because of lack of Federal and state governments’ sponsorship, that is why some sports veterans include myself said no that we will not allow our own sports to die”
“Since I retired from active boxing in 1984, I found out that it is only football that the three tiers of governments focus on for sponsor.
Consequently, in a bid to catch the youths young and train them hard in the three aspects of sports, I have resolved to organise a one-day power packed sporting activities tagged, ‘Combatant Sports Extravaganza,’ on Sunday 17th November at Rojenny sports stadium, Oba, which will help in no small measure in uplifting the three sports aspects for which the Igbos are known for”.
“I started boxing in 1959 and my first outing was in Morrocco which was in 1962 where I knocked out Dina Ringo and back here in Nigeria, I defeated Dele.
In 1984, I retired due to lack of sponsorship instead of continuing in my global tournament”
My contemporary included, Ogan Bassey, Dick Tiger, Fighting Romanus, Big Bay Opene, Power Mike, among others and these stars made Igbo proud then and we are moving towards having substitutes or successors for them”
Speaking, the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee for the Sunday event, Chinedu Akata (a.k.a. Edukason) accused the three tiers of government of allowing boxing, wrestling and Judo karate to go into extinction.
“since the death of likes of Power Mike, Ogam Bassey, Dick Tiger, among others the three sports aspects have gone into extincrion and thank God that an ex-International boxer, Chief Edwin Ogbonna, has in a bid to revive them, has been sponsoring so many sporting activities but wants this to be more action packed to help fish out talents”
“Left for government the three sporting aspects will die a natural death. Government should assist us and stop seeing soccer as the only sports”
Also, in his speech, the former Anambra state Kunfo coach, Mr Innocent Umeh, recalled that, “we were the first to bring gold medal to the state when we went to Port Harcourt on tournament in the regime of former Governor Peter Obi but since then the state government has abandoned us and focused on football”
“I thank Chief Edwin Ogbonna and others for ensuring that those aspects of sports known to Igbo people will not die and on Sunday we will display all our arsenals to fish out talents”
Credit: Uchenna Ezeadigwe