7 Days – 168 hours; 10,080 minutes have gone since the successful completion of the 6th National Youth Games. Many may have forgotten so quickly, but there’s a need to hint at the highlight of the annual youth games. In this read, you will get to know the final result, the itches, the minister for youth and sports developments remark on the age cheat issue and way to tackle it. You will also read about the lateness of Kwara state governor to the event venue, media treatment and officials incompetence; however, the conclusion and rating were not done without suggested solutions, going forward.
The 6th edition of the National Youth Games, Ilorin ended in a frenzy and exciting manner at the University’s main stadium on Tuesday night as Team Delta accrued 60 gold, 26 silver and 28 bronze medals to emerge champions for the sixth time running at the ‘Youth Games’.
The closing track events proceeded some artistic display of ball juggling by a lecturer from the Department of Human Kinetics Education, and cultural musical performances to excite the teaming spectators at the closing ceremony.
Team Lagos had a remarkable come back from 8th position on a penultimate day as they picked 12 gold medals in the last day to leapfrogged Team Kwara, Ogun, Rivers, FCT and with a few hours to end it all, jumped over team Bayelsa and Team Edo by 2 and 1 gold respectively to occupy the second position with 19 gold, 25 silver and 28 bronze medals.
Team Edo ended the event, their second in the third position with 18 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals, 2 places better than the previous (5th) which was their debut.
States from the 4th position where Bayelsa sit with 17 gold, 14 silver and 16 bronze medals; the 5th in Rivers with 11 gold, 8 silvers and 14 bronze medals and other 30 states picked up one medal at least and would return home to ponder on what’s next for them.
The Minister’s Presence
The Minister for youths and sports development, Chief Sunday Dare arrived at the scene of the closing ceremony at 3:18 pm and the closing ceremony officially started with the National anthem.
While addressing the contingent, the ‘Agba Akin of Ogbomoso land’ congratulated the host, the participating teams, the State’s sports commission and members of the press for a successful event despite the many hiccups pre and during the games.
Further, the minister frowned at reports of age cheat at the games which almost ruined the purpose of the games. Reacting to this, Chief Sunday Dare said the ministry will not tolerate this any longer, from the next edition. According to the Minister, “I want to condemn and express my disappointment about a few of the problems around age cheating reported during the games”.
“The Ministry of Youths And Sports Development wants to declare that going forward we will ensure that we will adopt more scientific and digital means of identifying age cheat next time and melt out stiff penalties to the offending athletes and the state they represent”.
“We will consider the National Identity Management Card (NIMC) registration as a requirement and others that will be rolled out later in our letters that will go to out to the states and there will be a need for all Athletes to have a NIMC registration before they can participate henceforth”.
“This document would be required and we will work in conjunction with the Organisation in charge; this measure is needed to avoid losing out on a possible potential medalist being screened out as over age vice-versa”
Haven said that the minister identified outstanding athletes from the games and hinted at the ministry’s plan for them.
The Minister however soften the tension raised by calling out a special athlete, Akinwowon Oladeji of Team Lagos who clinched 100M, 200M and 400M deaf-race and rewarded him with the sum of two hundred thousand nairas (#200,000) for his exceptional performances. Also, the minister acknowledged some other young athletes who stood out at the games and revealed the plans of the ministry to reward them.
The medals have been won and lost, but the reality is that every young athlete representing here are a winner either you have medals around your neck or not, you are a winner”
“This game has been an eye-opener to all as an abundance of talents and potentials in our country before our own eyes have emerged. Permit me a moment to highlight some of the youngest athletes and that speaks clearly for all that I have always said that the gold is in the child, I’d you catch them young, you build them up, they will give you the gold that you need as a community and as a country. The 9-year-old Gift Tohile from FCT; the 10-year-old Wilson Bright from Delta; and some of the outstanding gymnasts, like Obiefuna Munachi, 13 years of from FCT and Mustapha Oriyomi, another 13-year-old from Delta and other outstanding weightlifters, Olarinloye Florence from Lagos, Victory Okundiaye from Edo and others.”
“These outstanding talents and many more that have been identified will be properly groomed and prepared for the forthcoming African Youth Games in Ethiopia, 2022 and as well as Youth Olympics in Dakar, Senegal.”
The ministry has identified over three hundred talents and it’s part of our plans to give them financial and technical supports and help them become world beaters in the not too distant future.
The minister, though was stopped by the men of the press with their camera, phones, jotters and pen for a short interview, yet, many felt the manner at which the interview was conducted wasn’t fair on many who risked their lives from different locations in the country to give these future stars media attraction.
“Why must we stop him in that manner before he granted an interview, were was be rushing to, why not give us enough time for proper post-event conference”, many uttered grumblingly.
Photos: Ayoola Adeleke
Join me for part two of this piece In the next part, I will be writing on allegations and rebuttal; Statistic, Happenings amongst the gentlemen of the press, itches and suggestions going into the next year’s games.
Thanks for reading and anticipate the next