By Hassan Gbassay Korma
National Petroleum Sierra Leone has refurbished and handed over two squash courts to both the St.Edwards Secondary School and the Sierra Leone Grammar Schools respectively.
The handing over ceremony which took place on Thursday March 23, and Friday 24, was done as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility.
Speaking at the Thursday event at the St.Edwards Secondary School, Chief Executive Officer of NP-SL, Kobi Walker,said the ceremony was to rededicate and relaunch the squash court that was built in 2012 by NP-SL.
He said the reason why they are building squash clubs in schools is that in the year 1830 the game of squash was born technically in the United Kingdom in a school called Harrow School, and by 1844 the squash game travelled to the United States of America and was introduced at a school called St Paul.
“It is but fitting that we go back to the basics of the game and teach pupils to go back and play the game. Squash game keeps people physically fit and every part of the body involves in playing the game, he said.
He said some of the reasons why they at NP decided to get involved in squash was not only to ensure the benefits that it delivers but to also bring together students in a very competitive environment that they could translate into academia and become great Sierra Leoneans and great achievers.
“It is that passion that convinced NP to build squash courts in schools and in universities. We have built this one at St.Edwards Secondary School, we have built one at the Sierra Leone Grammar School, we have built one at the Bo Secondary School and one at Fourah Bay College University of Sierra Leone and we are going to build more,” he said.
He said by building more, they can take the game all over the country and pray to God that one day Sierra Leone is going to produce the world squash champion, stating that after almost 11 years since they constructed the club they are relaunch it again.
Also speaking at the Friday March 24, handing over ceremony at the Sierra Leone Grammar School, the General Manager of NP, Saidu Mansaray, stated that the ceremony was not only to handover the facility but to also promote education, health and sport.
He said over the past ten years, NP had endeavour to support education health, and sport through the construction of schools including the Wilberforce Primary School, the Fourah Bay College Engineering Department, Government Independent Memorial School wash facility and squash courts in schools.
He said the idea of building the squash courts in various educational institutions, is to provide pupils/students an alternative to other sporting disciplines, noting that as a company they believe that combining support in education can help pupils/students to develop self-motivated spirit that will enable them to do things on their own whilst encouraging and promoting unity, diversity and harmony.
“Squash will sharp the physical, mental the emotional aspect of the pupils as they go through their academic journey. In fulfilling our tradition, we are launching our annul squash coopetition for schools and colleges in which winners will be rewarded with motivated prizes including medals, trophies and scholarships,” he said.
He further stated that NP corporate social responsibility has always being about creating the positive impact on the lives and well-being of all Sierra Leoneans irrespective of age, sex, religion or status.
Principal of St Edwards Senior Secondary School Freddie R. Wyse said the squash game is played by two plays or four players for double and said special thank you to NP for constructing the facility and assured that a management team will be put in place immediately to oversee the proper use of the facility.
He said as a school they look forward to inter-house competitions and inter-secondary schools competition, noting that it is his hope that the couches of the game will help develop the skills of the pupils.
Acting Principal of the Sierra Leone Grammar School, Rev. Pinkley Wilhem, he said NP has done their best in working with schools, the Ministry of Sport and government of Sierra Leone in promoting squash game in the country, noting that the game was introduced to schools in order to catch them young.
Sosthenes Smith Public Relations Officer of the Sierra Leone Squash Association said they are the national federation for the promotion of all squash activities in Sierra Leone and they are recognised by the National Olympic Committee and by the National Sport Authority.
He said as part of the President of squash primary goal is to ensure that squash is introduced to schools across the country and he has been working with professional squash couches and physical health education teaches in over 11 schools across the country.