Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and the Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario, has challenged Universities in the region to play an active role in global sporting activities that would win the country medals other than leaving the duty to the police and the military.
While Kenya was globally acknowledged for clinching gold medals at international sporting forums, little of this effort was known to come from Universities, and yet they were better placed to win gold medals for the country.
Dr. Wario urged universities to ensure that besides working towards producing researchers and scholars, they also ventured into sporting activities that would earn the country gold medals. Kenya, he pointed out, “was not short of talents and the Universities have countless talents even beyond academics.”
The Cabinet Secretary further urged the Eastern Africa Community to tap into the inherent potential in youth in order to foster regional integration.
Dr. Wario was speaking at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), during the official commencement of the 10Th Edition of the Eastern Africa University Games (EAUG), Friday, December 16.
“On the increased growth in terms of membership of the participating countries that now includes Southern Sudan and the Horn of Africa,” Dr. Wario said, “It was an indicator to the potential inherent in harnessing our young peoples’ energies and talents to foster regional integration.”
Gender, Sports and Culture, Dr Wario pointed out, had been identified as an integral component and basis for social transformation of the society, and lauded the over 35 universities taking part in this year’s edition of the Games, running under the theme: Regional Sports for Health, Unity, Peace and Academic Excellence.
Appreciating the honour bestowed on Kenya to host this year’s Biannual Games, the Cabinet Secretary voiced “the need to pay greater and special attention in ensuring suitable and adequate facilities are identified and developed for the growth of the Sports industry across the Eastern Africa region.”
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga made a clarion call to all stakeholders including regional governments to “consider coming up with Sports scholarships in institutions of higher learning to be utilized by talented young people as a way of developing and harnessing the talent that is latent in our youth.” Prof Imbuga lauded the efforts made by some institutions in Uganda which have already taken the lead in providing sports scholarships in education.
Prof. Imbuga informed the over 3,000 sportsmen and women that the Games were being held against a backdrop of various challenges facing young people globally such as; unemployment, conflict, ill-health and recruitment into outlawed groups, and expressed optimism that these challenges notwithstanding, the young men and were already actively engaged in seeking solutions to some of the challenges by utilizing the opportunity provided by these Games, as a vibrant platform for learning, interacting and fostering enduring positive human relations amongst themselves as well as across the region.
To signal the commencement of the Games, JKUAT football team (also known as the Panthers) trounced their opponents Umma University, 5 – 1.
The Eastern Africa University Games are modelled on the Olympics Games, with teams competing in all major disciplines such as: Football, Handball, Hockey, Rugby, Basketball, Netball, Athletics, Scrabble, Chess, Tennis, Table Tennis, Badminton, Swimming and Martial Arts. JKUAT is playing host to the Games for the first time, whose the main objective is to promote unity amongst the Eastern Africa countries through Sports. The Games are set to conclude, Wednesday, December 21.