By John Essien
Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare has declared the sixth edition of the National Youth Games open at the University of Ilorin.
Mr Dare, who was represented at the opening ceremony by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, stated that this year’s edition of the Games is unique “as it is intended to produce formidable athletes that will represent Nigeria at the African Youth Games in Ethiopia in 2022 and the next Youth Olympic Games in Dakar, Senegal.”
He noted that, “as a nation, we will tap into the euphoria and excitements of the NYG to produce the best that will represent and do us proud.”
Mr Dare stated further that, the Ministry’s strategic plan to reposition sports at the grassroots level and to facilitate the discovery of budding talents in the country is being realized.
“I am glad to inform you that through the organization of the annual Youth Games the Ministry is actively achieving its mandate of creating a pool of potential athletes that can continuously represent the country at international Youth competitions,” he said.
The Minister urged all stakeholders to take advantage of the games to gauge their sports developmental objectives, as well as further develop the identified talents to the benefit of the country.
Dare who thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for granting approval for the hosting of the games, assured that the present Administration is not only committed to the development of sports in the country, but also in the utilisation of youth potentials to enhance socio-economic growth for the betterment of all Nigerians.
In his own remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar thanked all the participating state governments for their support.
He called on them to invest more in grassroots sports development.
35 states including the FCT, are featuring in this year’s National Youth Games which has been affirmed to consistently serve as an effective platform for talent identification and development for young athletes in the country aged 15 and below.