FG’s grassroots devt. efforts to enhance Nigeria’s place on global sports map, says Sambo
December 08, 2013 20:06
Abuja, Dec. 8, 2013 (NAN) Vice-President Namadi Sambo on Sunday in Abuja said the Federal Government’s grassroots sports development efforts were geared towards placing Nigeria at a prime position on the global sports map.
Sambo said this while declaring open the maiden National Youth Games (NYG) at the Main Bowl of the Abuja National Stadium.
The Vice-President, who was represented by the Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, noted that the October 2012 Presidential Sports Retreat marked a turning point for sports in Nigeria.
``In the short term of our transformation, especially in sports, we have achieved outstanding results. Certainly one of such results is the creation of the NYG,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NYG is a development programme by the National Sports Commission (NSC) to discover talents in secondary schools within the ages of 13 and 17.
The Games which will end on Dec. 15 has 32 states and the FCT participating.
Sambo said the NYG was a complementary competition to the biennial National Sports Festival (NSF) and that it was to provide a platform for early discovery of potential athletes.
``I am informed that the NYG is a complementary competition to the biennial NSF.
``And it has been initiated to provide a platform for early discovery of potential athletes who could be groomed to the highest level to represent the country at continental and international championships,’’ he said.
The Vice-President said Nigeria’s recent victory at the FIFA U-17 World Cup was a confirmation of the great potential which exist in the country and which needed to be tapped.
He however commended the huge attendance at the NYG by the participating states, which he described as `` a demonstration of our commitment as a people to create a solid and sustainable platform for youth development through sports’’.
Sambo said the present administration recognised the pivotal role of sports in nation building, hence its resolve to develop the sector to world-class level.
He commended the NSC and all the states sports councils and the FCT present at this first edition of the games for being part of its laudable history.
The Vice-President however expressed optimism that future editions of the NYG would attract greater corporate involvement to ensure self-sustainability.
He urged the participating teams to shun all forms of malpractices, hostilities and the use of any form of performance-enhancing drugs.
``You are all enjoined to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. We should draw inspiration from our diversity as a source of strength and maintain our tradition of tolerance which calls for respect,’’ Sambo said.
Earlier in his speech, the Director-General of the NSC, Gbenga Elegbeleye, said the grassroots developmental efforts of the NSC were to ensure a sustainable supply of budding talents for global games.
He urged all athletes and officials to take advantage of the NYG to showcase their talents and avoid unwholesome activities for the achievement of the objectives of the games.
``We should be humble in victory and gracious in defeat knowing full well that the NYG is basically for talent identification and to encourage the spirit of sportsmanship,’’ Elegbeleye said.
NAN reports that the opening ceremony witnessed a march past by the athletes of the participating states and a male football match between Oyo State and Abia which ended 3-1 in favour of Oyo.
It also witnessed entertainment by hip-hop musician, Ayodeji Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid.
NAN also reports that 14 events will be competed for at the games.(NAN)