The Honourable Minister of Transport, Sen, Idris Umar represented by Alhaji Dikko Bala (Special Assistant to the Minister on Marine Operation) has said that sport plays a significant role which help people to learn how to set and achieve goals through discipline and hard work.

The Minister said this at the inauguration of the maiden edition of Senator Idris A. Umar Table Tennis Tournament between Federal Ministry of Transport Sport Club and its Agencies held at the Women Development Centre, on the 17th of November 2014 in Abuja.

While commending this exercise as a laudable initiative, Umar stated that both studies and evidence have demonstrated that participation in sports has countless benefits for individuals and organization among other most obvious positive outcomes are:
• Improves physical health
• Provides a positive outlet for stress and aggression
• Improves concentration and mental functioning

Speaking at the event where line up for the competition was announced, the Minister said the tournament which is now a yearly affair is to serve as prelude to other aspects of sports which the Ministry will soon champion, adding that the intention is to groom staff who are fit in body and soul.

Sen. Idris Umar disclosed that at the end of the competition, the first place winner would have a golden cup, in addition to a cash prize of N500, 000, while the second place or silver medalist would go home with N300, 000, just as he said that the third place would be rewarded with a bronze medal and a cash prize of N200, 000.

The Minister, who recommended the sustainability of the sport event, believes that sport activities will “help promote peace and development in our work place and community at large. This is in tandem with the Transformation Agenda of the present administration.

According to him, efforts have been made to ensure that the Tournament continues, even as he urged competitors and their handlers to see the Tournament as a unifying force rather than a reason to settle scores of any kind. He said that participants must uphold the ethics of good sportsmanship adding that no participant would be allowed to play outside operational rules of the tournament.

Umar who commended staff of the Ministry for their contributions over the years to the growth of the Transport sub-sector, stated that it is hoped that the Tournament would be put to judicious use; to produce champions who would go ahead to represent the Ministry and the country at large in other table tennis competitions.

The Permanent Secretary maintained that the Senator Idris A. Umar Table Tennis Tournament is initiated to symbolize in some ways, the effort of the Honourable Minister for not only bringing progress to the Ministry but to the Transport Sector in general.

He stated that “apart from the sporting event enhancing the physical and mental development which will foster better productivity and excellence in service, it will also go a long way in deepening the existing harmonious relationship between the Ministry and its Parastatals”.

Participants at the tournament are drawn from the Federal Ministry of Transport (FMOT), Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN). The competition is scheduled to hold at the National Stadium.