The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, has said that the National Youth Games has become a formidable sports nursery for the discovery of talented young boys and girls in Nigeria.
The minister, who made the assertion in Ilorin while opening the 4th National Youth Games (NYG), said the Games had now contributed immensely to sports development in Nigeria.
Dalung said the target of this year’s Games was to produce formidable athletes that would represent the country at various international meets in the near future as the nation’s present crop of elite athletes were ageing.
“The Games also provide a level playing ground for young athletes aged 15 years and below to achieve their potential in sports.
“I would like to refresh your memory about the success story of the maiden edition of the National Youth Games held in Abuja in 2013.
“Many talented athletes were discovered there and groomed to represent Nigeria at the 2014 African Youth Games in Botswana and at the 2015 Commonwealth Games in Samoa respectively where laurels were won for the country.
“In the thrid edition of the National Youth Games, many talented athletes were also discovered and a good number of them represented Nigeria at the African Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria,” he said.
“Ever since its inception, the Youth Games has produced potential athletes who have represented Nigeria at various international competitions.
“It is pertinent to state that one of the major policy trusts and target of this current administration is the empowerment of our teaming youths in order for them to maximise their potential through various means among which sports take a cardinal position.
“This creates employment and career opportunities, provide strong and binding force for national unity, cohesion and youth mobilisation.”
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, urged the participants not to do anything that would jeopardise the ideals for which the completion was instituted.
“There should be no ill-feelings at any point in the competition.
“We should all imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship and keep in mind that this event is an opportunity to give the youth the chance to showcase their potential,” Abdulkareem said.
Delta won the 3rd edition of the Games with 21 gold, 16 silver and 23 bronze.