The 3rd season of Ayo Olopon games in Ogun state has come and gone, but history has been made as the two – time winner in the ancient game; Abiodun Oluwasegun has been dispossessed of the position, losing at the preliminary stage to a first-time participant in the Lanre Laoshe-sponsored event, Akigbe Rasheed.
The game which comprises of 16 participants across various parts of the State kicked off at about 8.30am at the prestigious Daktad Hotel & Suites, Abeokuta, and it witnessed the presence traditional leaders and public office holders who came to support the initiator of the idea, Hon. Lanre Laoshe.
Speaking with newsmen, 2018 Ayo Olopon winner, Rasheed stated that he has never been part of the Ayo Olopon event in the past years because he was not informed on time until after the event. He also assured that he will retain the championship position for a long time, now that he’s aware of when the event usually comes up annually.
Stating that he’s been playing Ayo Olopon since 1993, Rasheed said his father usually frowns at his obsession with the game and he would beat him, whenever he leaves home to play the game. He also advised that parents should take note of the talents of their children and encourage them to develop in the same.
The winner got a customized Ayo Olopon wooden medal with a whooping sum of N50,000, while the first runner up got the sum of 30,00 thousand naira.
The third position also got a cash prize of 20,000 naira and the 4th position, 10,000. Every other contestant got 5,000 naira each for participating in the game.
Also speaking at the event, Honorable Lanre Laoshe encouraged the youths to keep up with their commitment to preserving Yoruba heritage and ancient tradition, especially in the area of local indoor games that emanates from Africa. He assured that the coming year will be better packaged and the prizes will be more attractive. He also implores other people who have the capacity to support the event to take advantage of Lanre Laoshe Foundation to save our history from extinction by supporting to sustain this game and encourage more youths to partake in the event.
Ayo Olopon, having been neglected by all, is now again on the front burner by Lanre Laoshe Foundation, and taking it beyond the older generation and the unlettered, as the younger folks, are now setting a stage for the competition to once again take the game back to its position among the Yorubas, and Nigerians as a whole.