President of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), Hammed Kalkaba, on Tuesday promised to ensure that the IAAF/CAA Athletics High Performance Center located at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State becomes one of the best in the world.
Tracing the origin of the center to 2013, Kalkaba recollected that Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) President, Solomon Ogba, brought former IAAF President, Lamine Diack, to the University of Port Harcourt where he was conferred with a honourary doctor of philosophy title.
Said Kalkaba, “ We all supported Ogba’s idea and today it is now a reality’’.
Kalkaba argued that African athletes have all they need to excel in Africa at the centre, saying they do not need to travel abroad to train or change nationalities before they can become the best in the world.
He promised that CAA will give the center all the support they need, including financial support, that will ensure they become one of the best in the world.
Director of the Center, Ken Anugweje, said the center is very important to the University of Port Harcourt as it will aid them to maintain their position as the number one sports university in Nigeria and West Africa.
Anugweje appealed to Kalkaba and CAA to assist the center in getting coaches from Cuba and Eastern European countries to support the Nigerian coaches at the center.
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 it could have been any other city or university. He said 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 center, especially in the area of manpower.