SIXTEEN schools drawn from Lagos, Oyo, Kwara, Ondo and Ekiti will take part in the maiden U-13 tournament organised by the Lagos State Baseball and Softball Association.
According to the chairperson of the association, Onyeka Onuorah, the championship will kick-start the year and serves as part of the state efforts to popularise the sports in the state.
The participating teams are expected to arrive on Tuesday January 15 with the competition kicking off on Wednesday, January 16 at Jubril Martins Grammar School in Iponri. It will end on Saturday, January 19.
Onuorah said the tournament would help to prepare the state team for the national trials where players will be chosen for the West Africa U-12 Championship in Burkina Faso.
“We want to ensure that we prepare our athletes very well for the national trials because we believe in preparation. The venue of the national trials has not been confirmed but we are sure that Lagos will present a formidable team for the national competition.
Oyo, Kwara, Ondo and Ekiti will be presenting two teams each with the boys taking part in the baseball event, while the girls will compete in the softball. As host, Lagos will be presenting eight teams drawn from schools in the state.
According to the chairperson of the association, Onyeka Onuorah, the aims of the association is to develop the sport at grassroots level, as this would help to produce future stars for the state and the country at large.
She added that from the tournament, players would also be selected to represent Nigeria in the forthcoming IBAF World Junior Championship coming up in March.
She said that other programes line up for 2013 by the association include the Under-16 championship, The Little League championship, School Championship, State league while some American coaches that will be coming in July to develop the sport by organising clinics and grade the coaches, umpires and scorers.
For her, the focus of the association is on grassroots, which she believes is the bedrock of development in any sport.