The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Sunday Dare, has hailed the annual National Youth Games, for creating a pool of talented athletes that would continuously represent the country at International competitions. To buttress this assertion, the Honourable Minister said ” The National Youth Games has been consolidating on it’s gains as evident in the performances of several Athletes discovered at previous editions of the Games in International sports arenas.”
Mr Dare, ably represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola, gave this commendation recently, at the closing ceremony of the 5th edition of the National Youth Games, held at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State.
The Honourable Minister seized the opportunity to state that talents discovered at previous editions of the Games had indeed made Nigeria proud in the comity of great sporting Nations, citing an instance of over 30 athletes discovered at the National Youth Games, who represented and won laurels for the Country in Athletics, badminton, Canoe/Kayak, weightlifting, Wrestling, Cycling,Judo and Taekawondo, at the last African Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria in 2018.
Other notable recorded achievements, according to the Hon. Minister, include medals won by starlets at the Youth Olympic Games, in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Commonwealth Games in 2018. To this effect, he said the 4 medals won at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October 2018, were won by the athletes discovered at the 2017 edition of the annual Games , namely: Chukwuma Rosemary, Ineh Emmanuel and Akintola Alaba Olukunle who won medals in Athletics, while Gbadamosi Adjiat, hit the podium in Boxing.
While reeling and praising the accomplishments of the National Youth Games( NYG) as mission fulfilled, Mr Dare enthused that National Sports Federations now look to the NYG as a ranking event, just as the States Sports Councils by same token look forward to the annual Games to gauge their sports developmental objectives.
Furthermore, he seized the opportunity to restate and emphasize the importance of contributions of the University of Ilorin to the Games success stories, adding, it is a partnership that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development cherished for future fruitful relationships.
Mr Dare equally acknowledged the States who presented athletes for these Games, stressing that it is another valuable example of partnership and synergy that assisted the Ministry to provide a pool and reservoir of talented athletes that would represent the country at International competitions.
In his address, the Honourable Minister stated that the commitment of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to grassroot sports development is clearly evident in the planning, execution and delivery of this year’s 5th edition of NYG.
He said ” it is a return to the cradle of Nigeria’s sport glory. By this same token, the Ministry is committed to resuscitate the moribund schools sports at both the Primary and Secondary levels in order to open space for greater grassroots participation in sports and the discovery of talents ”.
Speaking on measures that would be adopted for eliminating age cheating in future editions, the Honourable Minister said that the Ministry would partner with the Nigerian Immigration Service and the National Identity Commission in the evaluation of the ages of athletes.
In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji AbdulRaman AbdulRazak praised the vision and objectives setting up the National Youth Games, adding that the increasing number
of participants from States on yearly basis at the Games is a positive affirmation of it’s mandate of discovering talents for sports development in the country. He said Kwara welcomes everyone and as well, wished all participants and Officials safe travel home to their destinations.
Statistics available indicated that this year’s edition of the Games witnessed an increase in the number of sports from 33 to 34. Similarly, there was an increase in the number of athletes registered which stood at 3,893 from 33 States as against 2,973 athletes from 32 States in the 2018 edition of the Games, an increase of 920 athletes or 31%. Delta State led the Medals Table with 41 Gold, 32 Silver and 31Bronze,and Lagos came second with 22 Gold, 36 Silver and 14 Bronze while Bayelsa recorded 17 Gold, 6 Silver and 22 Bronze to clinch 3rd position.
It was a colourfully uniting and relationship creation avenue for our young Nigerians from the North to the South and from the East to the West that history alone will record in years to come.
Asst. Direct. (Information)
For: Director, Press