UIMSAites in UI School Teams and Participation in Inter-Varsity Competitions

The peculiarity of medical school, starting from the preclinical phase where semester tests and exams are no longer a thing to the transition to UCH, and all other little details barely understood by non-medical students, culminates into the common perception that “Medicine too hard abeg” or “Na medical students dey sabi book pass”. Spending 6+x years pursuing this degree while adapting to the UI-UCH divide in specific issues leads to more “I no fit do that course jare” or “I no fit do course wey no go gree me flex wella for school, abeg. While these perceptions and concerns are somewhat valid, what still stands is that medical students are not just bookworms. In any extracurricular you can think of, that medical students make time for, they always stand out. Our Healthweek is arguably the loudest in the University of Ibadan. Competitions and Hackathons that medical students partake in only yield one result – supremacy. The evidence is everywhere, online and offline. However, as much as we have established a presence in places of interest, our membership in certain others raises questions.

It’s undeniable that sports is an integral part of student life at the University of Ibadan. Starting from the smallest scale, UItes look forward to inter-class sports competitions – within the department and faculty. These sporting activities also go as far as interdepartmental and inter-faculty, with the ultimate being inter-varsity. Judging from the ever-filled SUB field during the session, much can be said about UIMSA at these inter or intra-departmental and faculty competitions. But what is the membership of UIMSAites in UI school teams like? UIMSA Press, in search of answers, reached out to individuals, including but not limited to regular students, team members, coaches, etc., across different sports, and our findings were thus:


The UI Male football team at NUGA Games 2022.

The UIMSA Male Football team left a mark in the 2023 Seals Cup tournament, underscoring that they were debutantes. Once again, all eyes were on the MBBS team as they sent various teams – from the group stage onwards – back to their respective departments and faculties with a basket of goals. While the journey painfully ended for the team as bronze medalists, the team drew the attention of UI to the catalogue of sportsmen within the association. Comments from various admirers attest to the fact that these players are UI male football team quality. Surprisingly, none of these players – on the team and beyond – within the association are part of the UI male football team. Why? 

The legendary Mark Obeya, former coach of the ABH, UIMSA, and Clinical Sciences Male Football teams, confirmed that none of the players he managed throughout his time was on the UI team. As for why that is, Obeya believes that it’s about the time and dedication needed. He is of the opinion that most medical students can’t offer that 100%. As a matter of fact, the only person he knows who was on the UI team, at some point, had to take a year off medical school to participate in inter-varsity games. That may be news to most people, but it sheds more light on what dedication to either medical school or sports looks like. Speaking with the player in question, he confirmed that the lack of interest is an issue but secondary to the overwhelming schedules of a medical student. 

From both sources, it is clear that medical school is overwhelming for medical students who just want to focus on academics alone and even worse for those who juggle business or other extracurriculars. Is taking a year off medical school the only option for medical students to ensure maximum participation at such a high level? Surely, there has to be another feasible option for the interested individuals. It also doesn’t help that the College of Medicine, which we identify with, does not operate with the same calendar as the University’s main campus.


UI Volleyball team at a training session.

Speaking to certain volleyball players in the association, the feedback wasn’t any different from what we got for the other sports. Our first contact, Jesufemi Adeyeye, a finalist, stated that there are about two UIMSAites on the UI volleyball team. When asked if there were special criteria to join this team, he replied, “Showing up for practice and showing consistent improvement is all that’s needed. Once that is done, one can be picked to represent the school in inter-varsity competitions”. He also believes that interest and the nature of Medicine, as a course, is the reason we don’t see many UIMSAites on the team. However, he conceded that the preclinical years are a convenient time to familiarise oneself well enough with the team, and once that opportunity goes, it’s relatively tricky to commit to the sport from UCH.

Transportation costs also cause a significant decline in interest, especially for a sport like Volleyball with a daily training schedule. By extension, the reason we don’t see UIMSAites represent UI in inter-varsity games is participation. Jesufemi cited an example of a student who was able to represent the school in NUGA games in his preclinical years but struggled with participation after crossing over to UCH.  Another UIMSAite, Oludehinwa Adura, a fourth-year who is on the UI volleyball team, confirmed that he is currently the only UIMSAite on the team. He further said, “ You have to be an excellent player to make the team, and academic stress deprives medical students of the chance”.

For the sport characterised by buzzer-beating shots


The basketball-playing and loving individuals are a beautiful ecosystem to behold on campus. Everything – from the appearance of the players in their jerseys and shoes to the sound of a 3-pointer shot as the ball hits the net – about the sport is orgasmic. It’s pretty pleasing to realize that we have lovers of this sport within the association who spend hours on the court, training hard and de-stressing after a long day of classes and ward rounds. Speaking with Onyinyechi Osisiogu, a fifth-year UIMSAite and member of the UI Female Basketball team, she confirmed the existence of an official UI basketball team, but “when there are competitions that are not necessarily school-based, random people who regularly train on the court can participate as a team”. To her knowledge, there’s no UIMSAite on the official UI Male basketball team. While she is not entirely sure why that is, she feels that medical students don’t train enough at Awo Court, putting them out of sight of the UI Team Coach. Also, not enough medical students train at the same court.

For the preclinical students still in UI, it takes great interest to show up as a player at Awo court for practice whenever necessary. For those on the other side of the divide, it takes interest and money to show up consistently. Showing up at Awo Court regularly means transporting yourself from UCH whenever you need to train with the team and doing so consistently, regardless of your schedules. So while some of these are maneuverable for the students in UI, it’s not remotely easy for the clinical students in UCH. Speaking with the Press, the immediate past UI Male Basketball team captain, who just graduated, confirmed that there was no medical student on the team throughout his time in UI nor did he captain any throughout his tenure. He thinks it’s a matter of time and distance between the clinical half of the association to UI. He knows how demanding medicine can be, making it “somewhat difficult to show up for training”, even for the preclinical half on UI’s main campus.

He acknowledged playing against some medical students and credited their knowledge of the game from how they played. One inference from this is that medical students who play basketball are decent enough to make the school team. Another thing is that, once again, overwhelming schedules and distance – for the clinical students –  are a barrier. Most times, medical students who play basketball do so for the fun of it, and not with the passion to represent the school in inter-varsity competitions, especially with how demanding Medicine is. In a bid to suggest solutions, we mentioned that training can be alternated between UI and UCH, but the captain thinks it is quite impossible, except the majority of the team is on the UCH campus. His recommended solution is for people to join very early from their years on the UI campus and attend training when there are important matches.


UI Athletes at FISU Trials 2023

Track and field is not a strange sport in UI; even medical students engage in it, given the opportunity. In the last Healthweek, the Sports Secretary, David Akinnusoye, was able to organize track and field events at Awo stadium as part of the Ulympics  It included short and long-distance races, shot put, etc. However, in a conversation with a 500-level Agric Extension student, Johnson, he confirmed that, to the best of his knowledge, there are no medical students on the team. He also added that interest was all it took to be a part of the team but he understands the academic workload on medical students, some of which are his friends. “The reason we don’t have medical students represent the school in inter-varsity games is the inconsistency on the part of students that indicate interest”. According to him, the team has had MBBS students come around over the past years, but only show up for the first two or three weeks, after which they disappear.

What are the takeaways from this piece? Medicine is a jealous lover. The reasons you won’t see medical students at the highest level of representation, as far as sports is concerned, are because of the burdensome schedules particular to the course, the distance between UCH and UI for the other half of the divide, and lastly, the interest of said medical students in these sports. The only feasible solution to this concern is active and maximum participation in the preclinical years (100, 200, and 300 level). This keeps the level of interest at an appreciable standard when students cross to UCH, where distance and schedules come into the picture.

Peter Adeyemo

Nmesomachi Okoronkwo


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