The President of Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), Hammed Kalkaba, has assured that the IAAF/CAA Athletics High Performance Center at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State would be one of the best in the world soon.
Tracing the origin of the centre to 2013, Kalkaba recollected that Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) President, Solomon Ogba, brought former IAAF President, Lamine Diack, to University of Port Harcourt where he was conferred with a honourary doctor of philosophy.
Said Kalkaba, “We all supported Ogba’s idea and today it is now a reality’’.
Kalkaba was optimistic that African athletes would excel globally.
“They do not need to travel abroad to train or change nationalities before they can become the best in the world,” he said.
He also promised that CAA would support the centre, including financing.
Director of the centre, Ken Anugweje, said that the outfit was very important to the University of Port Harcourt as it would aid them to maintain their position as the number one sports university in Nigeria and West Africa.
Anugweje appealled to Kalkaba and CAA to assist the centre in getting coaches from Cuba and Eastern European countries to support the Nigerian coaches at the outfit. Anthony Ibe, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, who received Kalkaba and his entourage on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, thanked the CAA for choosing University of Port Harcourt.
Ibe said that it could have been any other city or university. He said that having a good center has many advantages which include reducing the cost of training people abroad. AFN President, Solomon Ogba, thanked the university for being a good host and contributing in so many ways to the development of the centre, especially in the area of manpower.