Dr Ademola Are, Director Grassroots Sports Development, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, said that the annual National Youth Games (NYG), will provide an opportunity for Nigeria to discover and groom its next crop of Olympics medalist.
Are said this in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday ahead of the 5th NYG holding in Ilorin, Kwara, scheduled to hold from Sept. 7 to Sept. 17.
He said that the multi-games competition which was instituted by the ministry five years ago was a great avenue to discover, nurture and develop athletes from grassroots to stardom.
“I can tell you that we have athletes from previous editions of the Games now doing well at the national level.
“Some of them participated in the last National Sports Festival and some are presently in Team Nigeria’s contingent to the 2019 African Games in Morocco.
“So the National Youth Games is an avenue for us to discover and develop talents that will eventually win us medals at international level,’’ he said.
He explained that athletes discovered at the NYG would be handed to the respective sports federations for proper monitoring and development.
Are said that everything had been put place to host a befitting games at the University of Ilorin come September in line with international best practice.
He said that all states of the federation except Zamfara had registered for the games and would compete in 34 sports, including shooting which had just been introduced.
The sports administrator maintained that the age limit for the athletes remains 15 years and below and warned that the ministry would come hard on age cheats.
Newsmen report that team Delta emerged as winners of the 4th National Youth Games in Ilorin, to rule the competition.
The defending champions won 27 gold, 24 silver and 16 bronze.
Lagos State came second with 23 gold, 15 silver and 22 bronze while Team Bayelsa and Ogun were joint winners if the third position with a total of 34 medals consisting of 11 gold, seven silver and 16 bronze each. Akwa Ibom and Abia came fourth and fifth respectively
Team Kwara placed ninth with five gold, nine silver and four bronze.
Team Adamawa won one bronze to come last.