By Wambo Emanuel in Bambili
The 20th edition of the university games kicked off at the campus of the University of Bamenda over the weekend with a reserve dose of pomp and fanfare for the over 3000 athletes that showed up.
The opening ceremony presided by the minster of higher education and chancellor of academic order, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo featured the march pass of the 19 sporting delegations present, and the lighting of the Olympic flame by Race of Hope star, Yvonne Ngwanya.
For one week the athletes will take part in various sporting descriptions like football, handball, basketball, table tennis, judo amongst others
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Professor Fame Ndongo said sports is a uniting factor that brings Cameroonians together irrespective of their political, religious and ethnic belonging. He thus called on the student to exercise fair play as they strive for the medal table. He thanked the organizing committee for successfully making sure that the games hold in a calm and serene atmosphere.
The mayor of the Tubah council, Mayor Tanjong Martin on whose soil the games are being played, urged athletes to exercise discipline and fair play, he applauded government for restoring internet in the two English speaking regions of the country. The Lord Mayor pleaded with government not to abandon construction of ongoing projects in the school after the games
Officials decried the nature of the football pitches which will serve as playing ground for the over to 3000 athletes taking part in the games. Some of the infrastructure has not been completed leaving many wondering if Bamenda was ready to host the games this year. However UBa Officials claim 97%of work had been done.
The host, University of Bamenda, UBa, female football team beat their counterparts of the University of Ngaoundere 2-0 in the opening match while University of Buea lost to National Advance School of Public Works, 1-0.
The Catholic University Institute of Buea, CUIB, on the eve of the games announced its non participation in the 20th all Varsity Games. Though CUIB stated the non-availability of some of their athletes and the unwillingness of those present to participate, some athletes and Officials said the move might not participate might not be unconnected to the Court summons of some Catholic Bishops in Mamfe, Bamenda and Buea who are expected to appear before the courts to answer charges filed against them by the ‘Consortium of parents’.