The President of the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria, YSFON, Alhaji Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna has charged the sports ministry on the need to ensure only qualified youths are eligible for the forthcoming National Youth Games billed for Ilorin.
Gawuna said in a statement that what should be paramount in the thinking of the games organisers is how best to discover talents for the 2024 Olympics as the country may experince a repeat of her dismal performance in recent international competitions.
He said the era of participating in the Olympics by the country should be over if the talents discovered at the games can be given a long term training which will see them getting international exposure before the big state.
He decried the fire brigade approach of sports administrators in preparing the sportsmen and women for international engagements which had often resulted to dismal performance of the country at the world stage.
According to him, what the country needed now is not just the gathering of sports enthusiasts on the way forward but a holistic approach on keeping in touch with sports developments at the grassroot as well as helping in ensuring the talents discovered are well groomed for future glory.
The YSFON president who described the nation’s dismal outing in the just concluded Rio Olympics as a wake up call, said that the Sports ministry should ensure age cheats are not allowed in the competitions if the country is ready to face the reality.
He noted that YSFON as a body has been in the front line in ensuring that age cheats in its competitions are reduced as this was the only way to appreciate the level of development than using over aged athletes to win competitions.
He also appealed to the Sports ministry to consider many of the non governmental youth organisations who had contributed to grassroot sports development in the new drive to attain a defined goal in the county’s sports policy.
Gawuna also appealed to States to see the game as am avenue to expose the raw talents in their respective domain by ensuring only eligible athletes compete in various games.
He said the decision by the games organisers to withdraw team events from the competition was a disservice to many of the talents who would have been picked by their various federation for future nurturing.
Gawuna said YSFON would should unveil its new partner in its quest to take sports development at the grassroot to the next level.