Gara Gombe laments loss of an Icon, to setup AthIetics Competitions in his memory
By Rasheed Adewuyi
Chairman, Gombe State AthIetics Association (GAA) Hon. Ahmed Shuaibu Gara Gombe has described the death of Dr. Awoture Eleyae (OON), as huge loss to sports globally and promises to setup AthIetics Competitions in his memory.
Dr. Eleyae’s death was announced Friday morning in Benin City, Edo State. Hon. Gara Gombe who was former Gombe United Football Club Chairman said the vacuum created by Eleyae’s demise will take millions of years to fill.
To this end, and for being so dutiful to sports development all his life, Gara Gombe disclosed that he would personally set up an Athletics Competition in Chief Eleyae’s memory.
“Chief Eleyae did so much for sports in Nigeria, Africa and the world as he laid a sustainable foundation for sports in Nigeria and by extension in the continent as well. He was an inspiration to many men and women including administrators in sports and became a father to so many of us. I will surely miss him,” Hon. Gara Gombe said.
Eleyae was a native of Uzere, Isoko-South Council of Delta State. He headed the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) from 1992 to 2004.
He was a member of many international professional bodies. While serving as a National Chief Track and Field Athletics coach, the late Eleyae captained the Nigerian Basketball team to the first All Africa Games in 1965.
He designed the Nigerian Institute for Sports (NIS), and became the first Principal of the Institute from 1975 to 1984. He rose to the substantive post of Deputy Director of Sports, National Sports Commission, and acted as Director General of National Sports Commission of Nigeria from February 1981 to May, 1982.
Born on April 10, 1927, the late Dr. Eleyae attended the then Native Administration School (N.A.) Uzere from 1940 to 1947.
The late Dr. Eleyae attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Campus (August 1970, to May, 1974), and obtained a Master of Science degree in Physical, Health Education and Recreation in 1971.
In this capacity, he attended all the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, and all the All Africa Games until 1976.
Late Dr. Eleyae competed in many sports at all levels, from local and school levels to international level, representing Nigeria. He was Nigeria’s record holder in 880 yards race from 1956 to 1960. He was also a member of the 4×440 yards relay team that set a national record in 1950.
After retirement, he served as Chairman, Bendel State Sports Council; Chairman, National Sports Awards Committee, and Chairman Sports Information Centre, among others.
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