UIMSA’s Interclass Games – An Unhealthy Trend

On Sunday 12th March, 2023, the basketball Knockout round of UIMSA’s 61ST HEALTH WEEK Sports Preliminaries held. Both the Male and Female teams of the 2K18, 2K19, 2K21, 2k23, 2K24, 2k25 Class were expected to compete. The last game of this round was between the 2k18 and the 2k19 male basketball team.

The match was a tough one as both teams competed fiercely. Although, there were several complaints from both teams about the game. The match ended in a 22-21 victory in favour of the 2k19 class which concluded the Knockout rounds.
While jubilations were underway, it was heard that a certain member of the 2k18 MLS class slapped a member of the 2k19 basketball team. Though all the details surrounding the events have not been ascertained, this altercation caused a stir as many were enraged by this fact, believing the slap was a product of enabling from the 2k18 class. Even though fists were not eventually thrown, it was noted that a lot of noise was raised in the hall.

Concerning the matter, the UIMSA President, Miss Jaachimma Nwagbara, said on her status, “The point of organizing tournaments is to encourage healthy competition and promote interclass interactions. Clearly, it has done the opposite in recent years, defeating its purpose. It might as well be scrapped from the activities of the Health Week.”

This statement brings to mind how fighting has become the norm in UIMSA Health Week sporting events. During the 60th health week, there was a scuffle between the 2k18 class and the 2k24 class, then another between the 2k19 class and an executive in the last tenure which had to be resolved on the Congress floor. During the 59th health week, the tussle was between the 2k18 class and the 2k21 class, which also had to be resolved on the Senate floor.

These past events begin to draw a pattern, making it worrisome that UIMSAites find it difficult to have healthy competition. It is understandable that competitive matches could lead to agitations, but we should note that there’s no place for fighting. We as an association must take necessary steps to prevent and address this behaviour within our ranks, rather than wait for people to begin to channel their grievances.

Details of the event were given by a Press member who was at the game and witnessed the event.

Early on in the game, there was an incident with the Sports Secretary who shouted angrily at a member of the 2k18 class. This was because he (Sport sec) had initially asked that people not currently playing or officiating move back from the court. He left, came back and saw that spectators were encroaching again, which was when he had his outburst.
This elicited a similar response from some of the 2k18 members. This event stopped the game almost leading to a confrontation on both side. Later on, during over time, another incident happened in which a 2k18 class player aggressively shouted at his opponent for touching him while talking to the ref.

At the end of the game, after the 2k19 class were declared winners, one of the spectator said to be in the MLS 2k18 Class, pulled a member of the 2k19 class aside and slapped him which he did due to something the UIMSAite said.

We also went ahead to interview UIMSA Sports Secretary to give an account of the events

The first match between Impeccabilem (200 level) and Oka (400 level) went really well. The score-line was an evident trashing to the favour of Oka. The second match between Excelsior and Panthers also started peacefully. Excelsior started with a 4-point lead in the 1st quarter. Towards the end of that quarter, Panthers made a comeback. Like other contact sport activities, bottling a win brews tension between both sides because the losing side is trying to get back into the game. After a while, the two sides became increasingly aggressive towards each other which was not supposed to be. In the midst of all that, the spectators started intruding the court while trying to support their favourites. We saw that with some of the supporters of Excelsior, and it became unnecessarily aggressive.

There was a time-out and people ran towards the referee and umpires, trying to voice their opinions and grievances to the referee thereby not giving him chance to make clear decisions. I went into the court trying to calm things down and advise the referee and umpires to make decisions by themselves and in the heat of the moment, someone uttered aggressive statement to me because I ordered everyone (not playing) to leave the court which I replied him and he became violent, trying to rush me and prove a point that he is my senior. Despite all provoking statements from some of the spectators which I believe are mostly from the 2k18 class, all the issues were resolved and the game continued. The match the continued though another player wanted to start another fight after making claims that he was hit.

Panthers later won the match by a point after the extra time added at the end of the 3rd quarter and the supporters ran into the court rejoicing. The next thing we heard was a slap on the face of a member of my class by a non-UIMSAite.

He also responded that the UIMSA games will continue and when asked how to prevent this from recurring.

“After the game, I met with the president and vice-president to ensure that the person/people involved in that violent act will not be allowed anywhere near UIMSA games anymore. I will also reiterate strict adherence to the rules guiding the games and I won’t mind disqualifying a class that breaks the rules.

We also got the statement of the 2k19 MBBS class who was slapped by MR. A

According to him, he and the MR. A were both on the sideline watching and supporting their respective teams and he noticed the Mr. A who was supporting the 2k18 class was shouting at the referee for being unfair with his decision and as the match progressed he saw that Mr. A was pointing toward his direction.

“When the matched ended and my class was celebrating, I noticed that someone pulled my right arm and dragged me to a corner of the court so in my head I am like this person wants to have a conservation with me maybe I said something he doesn’t like which I was speaking generally to the whole of 2k18, so I do not know why he would come and meet me personally because I remember when he was talking to the referee earlier during the game he had asked that was I talking to him “ o you no dey follow me talk abi”. So after pulling me aside he asked me why I made a statement which I did not say to him so as I was in the process of explaining when he slapped me and I got angry and I asked him Is he mad. MR. A’s friend then asked me why I asked the question that he is only having a conversation with me trying to downplay the situation and twist the story. However the people around me saw him slap me, so my friends took me to my room”

We also got the statement of one of the 2k18 players

“We expected the game to be very competitive. Our players were getting fouled and the ref did not call it. At some point even our expected scores did not tally with the score board.

The game was unfair to us and we had several reasons to protest against the game but we played on. We showed the spirit of sportsmanship. The Referee and Sport Secretary played an active role in a lot of the events that happened that day.

The 2k18 class has been tagged with a lot of slander. No member of the class slapped anyone or was involved in the action.”


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