Ifezibe Gagbe of Bayelsa State Swimming Club(in red) during a tournament in Lagos

The youths of Delta and Bayelsa States would clash when the 1st Marine Swimming Classics hold at the swimming stretch, Obiaruku in Delta State, Nigeria between 22 and 26 September.

It was gathered that young boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 15 years would fight for the winning prize of N20,000 while the runners up and third best swimmer receive N15,000 and N10,000 respectively in the junior competition.

The tournament, according to Timi Ebikagboro, Media Special Assistant to the Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission, will re-enact sporting rivalries between Delta and her sister state, Bayelsa.

Ebikagboro told P.M.Sports from Asaba that the Chairman of 1st Marine and Engineering Services limited, Prince Joe Penawou will sponsor the event, which would produce some swimmers for both states ahead of forthcoming National Sports Festival slated for Rivers State later this year.

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“Prince Penawou, the Iyasere of Akugbene Mein Kingdom decided to embark on the sponsorship of the swimming event as his little contribution to the peace and development of the riverine areas of the country. His effort is to help discover young and budding swimmers who will one day become great swimmers for the country.

“He also told us that the sponsorship is to key into the amnesty program of the Federal Government by actively engaging the youths who are potential targets that can be recruited for such negative acts, noting that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”, Ebikagboro said.

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The sports loving Penawou however called on the youths in both Delta and Bayelsa States to take full advantage of the tourney to be discovered and make a living for themselves, saying he knows what the youths are going through at this hard times.

“I decided to put some money into discovering them and promised that swimmers with the potential to excel if discovered at the three day event, will be given full sponsorship to further their education”, Prince Penawou was quotted as saying.

The swimmers, coaches and officials from both states have however been advised not to see the swimming competition as a do or die affair, but as an avenue to further cement the brotherhood that exists among them.

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The organisers of the youth championship have advised the states not to come with over-aged swimmers, warning that such act would send wrong signals to the children.

“The sponsor is planning to sustain the tourney for the betterment of persons in the Niger-Delta region” the Media Chief said.

Tunde Oyedele