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Keepfit Sports Club honours members at 2021 ‘Iwa Ji’ festival

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By Lawrence Nwimo

Popular Anambra sport-oriented club, KeepFit Sports Club of Awka, recently held its 2021 ‘Iwa Ji’ (New Yam) festival in Awka, the Anambra state capital.

The event, which was introduced in 2020, greeted with fanfare and joy as the club, being a section of the renowned Awka Capital Sports Club, held the annual fiesta at the garden of the Anambra Newspaper Corporation and Painting, Awka.

Speaking to Orient Daily at the event, the club President, Engr Obiora Onyeadi, explained that the essence of the annual celebration was to promote the rich Igbo cultural instead of allowing it to die. “It is something we cannot do without. The English people sold to us their own culture and we embraced it. The new yam festival should be sold to the world so that out own culture too would be recognized by the rest of the world.”

Onyeadi, who doubles as the immediate past President General of Nsugbe community, said the 2021 edition is the second edition of the festival, having celebrated the maiden edition the preceding year.

Captain of the KeepFit sports club, Chief Chuka Nnabuife, described  KeepFit as a section of the Capital Sports Club established to pass knowledge of the need to exercise the body so as to keep the body system in good shape.

His words, “KeepFit sports club is an elite and recreational sports club in Awka Anambra state and majorly comprises people above their 40s. It is a section created from the Capital Sports club of Awka. It is an aerobic section and a prime section in the large sports club. 

“The club is only interested in the overall fitness of the body and fitness as community of friends and people in one environment is paramount. 

“The club members comprised captains of industries in government and private enterprises and people who are lords in their rights. Culture supersedes practice. We are largely Igbo and the association exists in an Igbo setting, so the new yam celebration is strongly held festival in Igbo land. We organize the festival so that we can eat yam conveniently at our homes.”

Speaking further, Chief Nnabuife, who is the Managing Director of Anambra Newspaper Printing Corporation, publishers of National Light and Ka Odi Taa newspapers said “New yam festival is a culmination of season and once a community holds a new yam festival in Igbo land, it opens up other opportunities of celebration.” 

On what relates sports to the celebration of the new yam festival, he emphasized that the club comprises core individuals of Igbo origin who value things of culture and tradition especially in Anambra State where the new yams is a prime festivity. 

Similarly, the President General of Achalla community,  Comrade Anthony Odiegwu said the club used the occasion to appreciate God in Igbo cultural way. He also said keepFit was particularly necessary for an individual’s social life, adding that it is an opportunity to engage in physical activity to maintain health. 

Similarly, the Keepfit Director of Social and Welfare, Mr. Kenechukwu Henry, said the event provided the opportunity to promote unity of the club, as well as help to propagate the Igbo culture and tradition.

Being a sports-oriented club, the event kicked off with a physical fitness exercise at the event venue, while the event became special as some members of the club were recognized and honored with Outstanding Service Award, for their various contributions to the Club.

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