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April 21, 2024

Club trains 100 children in karting

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By Cecilia Ijuo

The Automobile and Touring Club of Nigeria (ATCN) has trained 100 children in karting (sport of racing or riding on karts).

The President of the club, Mr Iskaku Bamaiyi, said this at the end of a four-day intensive training and competition titled “Karting in Schools” on Tuesday in Abuja.

The event was organised by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile(FIA) through its Sports Grant Programme in collaboration with ATCN.

He said there is a need to develop talents in motorsport to enable Nigeria participate in international competitions.

The event was also organised in partnership with Abuja Enterprise Agency and Abuja Investment Company Limited for about 100 school children within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

”It is time for Nigeria to become visible in motorsport internationally in view of its benefits.

”Nigeria is gaining international recognition, this sport will contribute to economic growth,” he said.

He said there is need for schools and parents to invest time and money to develop talents that would represent the country globally.

Bamaiyi said as part of effort to develop talents, “FIA is creating university scholarships and a lot more for school children that are outstanding in the sport.

“The just concluded event is Karting in Schools Phase II and about 100 pupils from different schools within the FCT were in attendance.

“In 2022, we had the privilege of organising phase one, which saw over 120 pupils from different schools in the FCT participating.

“The enthusiasm shown by the participants was very encouraging, ” he said.

The president said it was high time Nigerians took the sport seriously.

He further said there was a need for sponsorship to develop the sport for national and international competitions.

“This particular programme is free and we provided everything under the FIA banner.

“We urge Nigerians to get involved in the sport to take it to the next level,” he said.

The president said the club was working towards developing talents in circuit racing, rallying and other activities under motorsport.

Mr Steve Harding, from Motorsport Development Academy, South Africa, said he was on ground to help with the training of participants.

He said he was impressed with the speed with which the children adapted to the sport within the few days of training.

Harding said “with much practice they will improve further.

“The sport is just taking off in Nigeria but I believe with commitment from relevant stakeholders, it will gain prominence.

“The benefits of the sport are enormous, ranging from pleasure to economic benefit.

Also, Mr Denen Ikya, member of the Ethics Committee of FIA, said the level with which children were developing interest in the sport was encouraging.

He said “it is important for schools to catch them young to grow the sport.

“Sometime in the year we will be having the festival of motor sport and that is where we will have more karting activities.

“We are hoping that they will form part of the team that will develop the sport in Nigeria.

“Schools should create motorsport clubs the same way we have football clubs and swimming clubs.”

Ikya said winners from the just concluded event would be given automatic tickets to compete at national level.

He further said that the winners at the national level will represent Nigeria in the various stages and age groups in Spain in 2024.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that participants at the event competed in car racing and digital sport.

Winners from the competition got medals and trophies, while all participants received certificate of attendance.

In the car racing category for boys, 17-year-old Bassey Akilahyel emerged winner with Usman Suleiman and Muhammad Suleiman as first runner up and second runner up.

In the car racing category for girls, 11-year-old Ummusalma Abdullateef emerged overall winner.

Meanwhile, in digital sport, 12-year-old Abdullateef Junaid emerged overall winner, while Mubarak Muhammad and David Shaibu came second and third.

The winners while thanking the organisers for the opportunity, said they looked forward to international closed course racing competitions like Formula One. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Sadiya Hamza

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