Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri is a place of history. Though it is in a sorry state with litany of dilapidated structures, over grown weeds; and truly a ghost of what it used to be, but it still has some relics of its past glories.
Yes, even in its fragile and pale state, its glories have refused to pass away and get obliterated in the failings of men.
While its reaident stars have been banished to new Okigwe stadium for reasons explainable by its architect, it has remained a beehive of activities, especially for lovers of fitness and good health.
The Big story is that one of its old stars, an ageless Queen of the Track who has kept the little tongue of that fire of Dan Anyiam still burning and constantly gasping for breath of hope.
She is Mrs. Maria Ogoma (nee Emenekwe) popularly known Aunty Maria. She is the ideal personality of consistency. A multiple Olympian of honour who won uncountable laurels for the State and Nigeria at large.
Looking at her from the back, she walks gracefully, briskly and steadily. No traces of fragility but only pulling strength of a locomotive is seen. She is always adorned in the regalia of champions except when she is dressed for occasions where you can mistake her for a lady in her 20s.
Yes age is never hidden but she has naturally kept those wrinkles away without the application of any known anti aging concoctions.
For any a visitor who finds himself in Dan Anyiam in the morning, she is always in the last of the courts. In that court is her fitness clinic where professionals and other lovers of good health come for exercises and to take tutelage from the ‘Master’.
Maria Ogoma (new Emenekwe) of St. Paul Central School, Owerri. She is Ada Mbaise but married to her heartthrob in Urratta. She is 68 years old. She was discovered in 1975. Between 1980 and 1985 she reigned Internationally in 4*4 Relay, 400 meters, 300 meters, 1,500 meters, 10 000 meters and marathon. For 10 years she was unbeatable in Marathon internationally.
She simply described sports as life. “You know that fitness and sports are all I know. Yes, we may get sick but I know nothing about having sugar problem. My Blood Pressure has never exceeded 70/120. I encourage people to make out time to keep fit. I am 68 and I still feel 20. I can run and take my people in over 2 hours drills without blinking.”
Some of us retire from active engagement once we turn 50 but this Amazon is a living testimony that that Sports and fitness are indeed a positive lifestyle for all.
We all need the indomitable spirit of Aunty Maria in our endeavours. We must be displined in our routine life activities.
Today, Aunty Maria relies on her fitness clinic and her small spot to survive.
We at NewsTrack strongly believe that this living legend deserves much better from both the State and the Federal government for bringing honour and respect to the fatherland. Our stars must be celebrated when alive and not in death.
Autie Maria is the the NewsTrack Personality of the Week…