A TALE OF THE SORTS: NiMSA GAMES 2018
By Onyekachi Osondu, ABH Press
Ilorin, Kwara – The 27th edition of the Nigerian Medical Students’ Association (NiMSA) which began on Monday 24th came to an end on Saturday the first of September with sizzling performances by the sportsmen and women of the various schools that participated. The weeklong games are a biennial sporting event organised by NiMSA for medical students across Nigeria. This years’ edition was hosted by University of Ilorin Medical Students’ Association (ILUMSA) with 17 medical schools in attendance and over 1500 sportsmen participating in 13 different games.
University of Ibadan Medical Student Association (UIMSA) also participated and was represented by 44 sportsmen with no single sportswoman in the delegation. The delegation won a total of 15 medals, 2 gold, 8 silver and 5 bronze medals. UIMSA was privileged to have various sportsmen participating in football, basketball, lawn tennis, swimming, table tennis, athletics and various board games.
In basketball, UIMSA was placed with UNILAG, UNILORIN and LASU in the same group. UIMSA’s basketball team made it out of the group stage defeating the duo of UNILAG and LASU although they lost to the host school, UNILORIN at the group stage. Qualifying from the group, UIMSA was drawn with EBSUTH, who took gold eventually, in the semifinal which they lost, and had to settle for bronze after UNIBEN failed to show up for the match for third position.
UIMSA was duly represented in the lawn tennis games by Abdulbasit Fehintola and Ismail Omodunni for the singles and Muideen Yusuf and Ismail Omodunni for the doubles. Mr Fehintola in the knockout stage of the singles, knocked out UNIBEN, followed by LASUCOM after a tiebreaker in the quarterfinal, and UNILAG in the semi-final. The final match was between Mr Fehintola and the defending champion, UNILAG’s second delegate for singles. Unfortunately Mr. Fehintola could not overcome the odds as he was second best in that match. Mr.Fehintola proudly took the silver medal.
The doubles saw the UIMSA duo of Ismail and Muideen defy all odds to take second place and add another silver to our medals tally.
In Checkers, Sheriff Adewale represented UIMSA and won a silver medal losing the gold medal to LASUCOM in the final, after edging out UNIBEN and two other medical schools earlier in the game. In scrabble Omoyajowo Olayinka secured silver for the association.
Aba Oluwafemi, who represented UIMSA in a variety of swimming events can only be the described as the brightest light and a revelation for UIMSA in the games. He picked up 2 golds, 4 silvers and 2 bronzes medals bringing his personal tally to 8 medals. Femi is single handedly responsible for half of UIMSA’s medal tally.
In table tennis UIMSA got to the semifinal of the singles table tennis but crashed out after being defeated by the defending champions, UNIBEN. Quadri Lawal represented UIMSA and won a bronze medal.
UIMSA’s male football team had the most disappointing of outings at the games. UIMSA was held to a goalless draw in her first match, then lost her next two matches. UIMSA therefore, failed to qualify from the group stage. The football competition was eventually won by the host school, ILUMSA after defeating UNIBEN in the final match with 1 goal to nil.
UIMSA was only able to secure a medal in athletics which was obtained by Paul Edet, who took third place in long jump.
UIMSA however could not participate in handball, Ayo, darts, badminton, scrabble, volleyball due to lack of sportsmen while there was no single female sportswoman to participate in any of the games.
The sporting event witnessed a large turnout of medical students with some schools having as many as a hundred students to participate in the games. There were however a lot of complaints of administrative shortcomings in terms of delegate welfare such as decrepit, ramshackle accommodation and officiating irregularities like bias and favoritism towards the host school and the use of ‘mercenaries’ by the host school, UNILORIN, in football and basketball.
There were however, grievances in the UIMSA delegation over the lack of support from the College of Medicine either financial or moral, or in any form whatsoever. While other schools had coaches and their sportsmen and women got remuneration, those of UIMSA had no coach, no remuneration and fewer representatives which led to one person participating in different events at the games. UIMSA was no different from other schools as they also had to be subject to terrible living standards as well as the ever shining Ilorin sun which gave most of the participants a heavy tan.
According to Michael Okonkwo who was part of the UIMSA football team, the ‘NiMSA Games was a good experience despite the numerous shortcomings. It afforded us the opportunity to see the seriousness with which other schools take sport seriously and how we needed to work on ourselves.