Sunday, March 3, 2013
Journey To Garden City -As Honorary Awards Flow At UNIPORT
The first hint about the 2013 establishment of the IAAF high level performance center in Port Harcourt came in November last year, during the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Centenary Gala Show in Barcelona, Spain.
On the fringes of the gala, the IAAF top brass confirmed the formal agreement to seal the deal would be signed in January 2013. The highlight of the IAAF Centenary Gala was the announcement of Jamaica’s World and Olympic champion, Usain Bolt and American Allyson Felix, as 2012 Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Bolt, who won the award for the fourth time, and Felix, a first-time winner, received their trophies and $100,000 prize at the Athletes of the Year Awards ceremony in the Grand Ballroom of the Pullman Skipper Hotel, while Jamaica’s
Head Coach, Glen Mills was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award. Attention then shifted to February, on the sidelines of the official launch of the center, IAAF boss, Lamine Diack, was conferred with an honorary doctorate degree by the University of Port Harcourt, during the institution's 29th convocation ceremony.
Technical Director of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Omatseye Nesiama disclosed that the Senegalese track and field guru was in Nigeria on a three day visit (February 7 to 9) to receive the award, to assess the HPTC site and get an opportunity to determine where the IAAF could assist Nigeria.
“The University of Port Harcourt honoured Diack for his contributions to track and field in Nigeria based on the approval of the establishment of a High Performance Training Centre located at the sports complex of the University of Port Harcourt last November,” Nesiama explained. AFN President, Solomon Ogba alongside National Sports Commission (NSC) Director General, Dr. Patrick Ekeji, former AFN boss, Dan Ngerem and Nigeria Olympic President, Sani Ndanusa, were awardees of Fellows award of the University of Port Harcourt Sports Institution.