Abiodun Fetes Onakoya, Onakoya Appoints Him As Sports Ambassador

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has appointed the National Master of Chess and the current Guinness World Record Holder for the longest Chess Marathon in history, Mr. Tunde Onakoya, as the Sports Ambassador of the state.

Governor Abiodun, who stated this when he received Mr. Onakoya in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, noted that the achievement of Mr. Onakoya at the global stage would not have been possible without determination, resilience and hard work, declaring that a Chess Competition would be held across the state in his honour.

“I can see why you continue to be an inspiration to many young people across the length and breadth of this country. You have gone further by establishing a foundation called, ‘Chess in Slums Africa’ because you are determined to tell your story and encourage other children and get them out of the slums and give them hope and a future.

“Coincidentally, Ogun State will be hosting the National Sports Festival in the next nine months or thereabouts and we are boasting that we are set to host the best National Sports Festival that has ever been held in the history of this country and coincidentally, Chess is one of the games that will feature in that event.

“I have decided that because of you and in your honour, we will begin an Ogun State Chess Competition across the length and breadth of the state. Since you are now officially our Sports Ambassador and our Chess Ambassador, we will leave it to you to design that competition from the local government to the state level.

He commended the Guinness World Record Holder for his resolve to succeed without engaging in dubious activities, noting that with the feat, he had joined the league of illustrious sons and daughters, who had made the state proud in their chosen endeavours.

Earlier, Mr. Onakoya, who said determination contributed to his becoming a world champion, recalled that he saw chess as a way out of poverty and ability to think critically beyond the surface, attributing the unpopularity of chess in the country to lack of understanding of the value of the game.

He added that as efforts were being made to make the game popular in Lagos, Kenya and other parts of Africa, just as his team, in collaboration with Lufthansa Airlines, was trying to bring the game to the grassroots, expressing gratitude to Nigerians for supporting him in his march to stardom and felt proud to be a Nigerian.

He thanked Governor Abiodun for the honour done to him and his parents, pledging to work with the government to make the game attractive to the youth.