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Leading International Energy and Infrastructure Conglomerate, Sahara Group has raised the performance bar a notch higher as staff from its various locations across the globe gather in Lagos, Nigeria to trade tackles and light up the tracks at the third edition of the Saharalympics.

At the stroke of 8 a.m on Saturday September 29, 2018, the band will strike the opening chord, one hundred pairs of training shoes will ground stomp in unison and the march past will begin, signaling the official start of the biennial games at the Campos Square Mini Stadium, Igbosere, Nigeria

Conceived in 2014 to serve as a rallying platform and celebration of Sahara’s diversity, the event represents the energy giant’s commitment to excellence, team work, integrity and professionalism.

Participants warming up at the 2016 Games
Participants at the 2016 Games warming up before a football match

Speaking on what inspired the games, Bethel Obioma, Head Corporate Communications said: “Team work, excellence, tenacity and integrity are some of the most critical qualities needed for success in any competitive sport. They also happen to be at the core of Sahara’s work ethic whether individually and as a collective organization. Essentially the Saharalympics is easily one of the fullest and most vibrant expressions of who we are as an organization.”

This year, there are over twenty gender inclusive games and competitions including relay races, 100m, 200m and 400m sprints, football, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, scrabble, chess, potato sack race, tug of war, treasure hunt and the Egg & Spoon race.

Obioma added: “The Saharalympics is certainly very competitive. Whilst there are activities which demand extreme mental and physical commitment we have also added events like the Egg & Spoon and Potato Sack race as well as the treasure hunt because we relish the lighter, more hilarious moments that accentuate the fun but intensely competitive spirit of the day.”

Several companies of the conglomerate will compete against each other in a bid to rack up the highest number of gold medals and best 2016 records. The companies include Asharami Synergy (Downstream Division), Asharami Energy (Upstream Division), Sahara Power Group, Egbin Power Plc., Ikeja Electric and First Independent Power Limited(all of the Power Division, Centrum, SIVC and CVL (Infrastructure Division) and Sahara Group Ltd- the organisation’s innovation and strategy nerve centre.

Sahara Group Companies competing for gold at Saharalympics 2018
Sahara Group Companies competing for gold at Saharalympics 2018

Speaking further, Obioma said “the beauty of bringing all the companies together for this special day is that each one of them has a unique character as an entity. Each has its own colours, cheer leading squad and lingua franca. The harmonizing factor of the day is the fun we derive in our camaraderie and the pride we take in knowing that while we are fiercely competitive and daring with our sublime skills, we always play fair and square knowing full well that ultimately, we are all winners.”

One of the highlights of the biennial event is the Novelty football match which usually occurs towards the end of the event. It is the one event that cuts across the spectrum by bringing men and women employed at all levels of the organization and across every border of operation and business affairs.

Group photograph from the 2016 edition
Group photograph from the 2016 edition

Staff from the Dubai office relish the chance to take on their counterparts who may be sat in Geneva, Singapore, Lagos, Kenya, Guinea, Accra, Lusaka or Dar es Salaam. Even more anticipated is an opportunity for the over 3,000 strong workforce gathered at the stadium to see C-level executives tackled or take a tumble as they pace down the field for dear life, looking to put the ball in the net.

Colin Raccach a business development manager from the Dubai office enthused “the Saharalympic games are easily one of the most anticipated events that embody the Sahara Culture. It gives Saharians  – that’s how we describe ourselves – the opportunity to experience, participate and deepen our spirit of unity. Sharing the Saharalympics moment with colleagues from all over the world is such a great bonding experience. I felt a spirit of sameness with my colleagues that I anticipate reliving every two years.”

There will be two hundred and ten medals handed out to winners on Saturday. Capping it off is a trophy ceremony in which the winning team will be recognized along with the first and second runner ups.


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