Sports At The University of Ibadan: What Is And What Can Be?

By: Lawal Damilare 

The University of Ibadan has seen a drastic increase in the number of sports activities within the four walls of the campus, so it is not alien to see regular fliers of the “Mr. A and B” Cup now and often. On the surface, this seems like a dream come true. Alas! The days of lamenting that we had low participation in sports are over, or should we also ask questions if we just have mere activities without a sense of direction?

If you are like me and observant, you will have many questions to ask as to the initiatives put up into many of these activities, But before we clap hands of success or point fingers at accusations to where we are today, let us analyze together, what sports is like at the University of Ibadan as at this session.

The Face of sport but not the only sport.

The round leather game football, is the world’s most-watched sport. According to over 3.5 billion watch the game of football. This is quite a huge number considering that half of the world population has a large interest in this sport.

To share in the bias, this may be the excuse why the majority of the sporting activities on campus have been all around it, from the CBN Cup to the freshers’ interhall cup, to Survival, to Masters, and numerous Inter-faculty competitions we cannot have enough of it. As interesting as this sounds it has had its large toll on sport as a whole in the University of Ibadan. Other sports have either had no platform or visibility or gained attention at all, this implied that for every football competition played at the SUB pitch, we have had empty tennis courts or handball practices, We have lower interest in basketball or even the chance of having a cricket team. Concerning this same football, numerous competitions have been springing up, which will then ask the question, why? maybe we forget, “too much of everything is as bad as too little”.

To raise my brow a little bit, raising the standard of football has exactly been  achieved since there are too many tournaments, and game times are neither sufficient nor never enough. Also, there are fatigued players and issues of abstract planning.

Nonetheless, one of the positives is that we stand the chance to spot more and more talents that can change the face of UI Pioneers.

But if anything at all, football is not the only sport, and spreading all efforts across the board will progress sport as a whole and not only football.

Sports Thus far

Inclusivity is one of the sole aims of sport, equalling gender, race, and also ethnicity bias. But has sport at the University of Ibadan been doing that? I beg to differ.

Other kinds of sports have been neglected either in the background or totally. Aside from board games, we can barely boast of sports that the UI community knows of aside from football. This limits the chance of inclusivity.

This session also, track and field athletes have faced difficulties with accessing school facilities sometimes for personal training except for group trainings, there are restrictions on Awo stadium and we begin to ask the question, is Awo stadium for rent or students?

From the optics, the Student Union Sport Secretary has also not made efforts in that light to encourage other sports.

Years behind and our Emphasis

The last NUGA game was almost two years ago, and we are on the verge of experiencing it again. But before we draw the curtains, let us examine the University of Ibadan’s performance and how our internal structures affect us.

The University of Ibadan achieved her only Gold medal in the board game Chess and also recorded medals in Scrabble, Judo, and Taekwondo. The handball team failed to win a medal despite a good outing, the badminton team led by the captain Asaye  Segun couldn’t get anything worthwhile. We also had representatives in squash and swimming who failed to win medals.

Our medal haul at the last NUGA was a disappointment for the “First and best.” This simply shows our priorities and how our internal structures limit us.

The UI Pioneers got knocked out of the tournament by the hosts University of Lagos (UNILAG) in the quarter-finals. This is the same football that we show more attention.

If we struggled with the football that we have showed a lot of attention, it is little wonder why we have inexperienced handlers or a basketball team that cannot deliver medals on the big stages.

Our Emphasis has been one way, but it is time to consider how we can begin to include all sports and every field of interest.

Comments are closed.