By Amaechi Agbo
Not less than 100 cyclists and officials are set to participate at the maiden edition of Owan West Cycling Tour scheduled to hold in Owan West Local Government Area, Edo State.
Sponsored by MASVI and Sons Nigeria Limited the tournament is aimed at empowering the youths of the local government as well as prepare them for the National Sports Festival, NSF which Edo State is hosting in March this year.
Speaking during the unveiling of the sponsors, the Executive Chairman of Owan West Local Government Area Hon. Frank Ilaboya, described the partnership between the government and the sponsor as historic adding that the tour will not only discover future cyclist for the state but will serve as reference point in nurturing and grooming talented cyclists for the country.
“We are happy to announce that MASVI and Sons Limited has gladly agreed to sponsor the tour,” an excited Hon Ilaboya said.
With the unveiling of the sponsor, competition previously known as The Cycling Tour will now be known as MASVI/Owan West Cycling Classic.
MASVI is owned and managed by an illustrious son of Owan West, who is into haulage and petroleum products, with branches across the country.
Speaking during the unveiling, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Moses Ajayi, said that MASVI’s sponsorship of the cycling will help to galvanize support for the various youth empowerments schemes introduced by the Executive Chairman of Owan West, Hon Frank Ilaboya.
“I have been following the progress being made by Hon Ilaboya-led administration in the local government, especially in the area of youth empowerment, and I think he has been doing quite well. And our coming in is to support the good job he is doing.
“We all need to join hands with the government to invest in our youths and sports offer a veritable platform to keep the youth busy.
“Outside the empowerment angle, Hon Ilaboya has also explained to me that the race will be used to prepare the cyclists for the National Sports Festival. Again, we will be glad to contribute our quota to Edo State winning the Festival.
“We hope to continue to do this on an annual basis,” Mr Ajayi added
Following the latest development, the tour earlier fixed for February 21-23 will now hold from February 28- to March 1, 2020.
Seven states, namely Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa and Edo will participate in the three-day classic.
According to the spokesman of the Cycling Federation of Nigeria, Osaretin Emuze the above states were selected due to their ranking in the country noting that the federation will map the routs for the tour next week.
“We have to carefully select the states to give the event the quality it deserves as the cyclists prepare for the National Sports Festival.
“Next week, we will be in Owan West to do the mapping of the routes and finalise all the arrangements. Hon Frank Ilaboya, being a sportsman to the core has promised to make the event one of the best ever in recent times.
All the cyclists, coaches, officiating officials, and journalists are to be accommodated at the prestigious MASVI Hotel and Suites in Sobe, Owan West.
Male cyclists are expected to ride 140 kilometres while the female will go 80km.