Fascinating moment as the long awaited annual Youth Games began in style today in University of Ilorin with several cultural display, musical performances and thrilling moment with famous Nigeria artist called Small Doctor aka ‘Omo iya teacher’ in Maracana Stadium, University of Ilorin.
Nigerian Fuji, Afro-Pop recording artist and musical performer, Adekunle Temitope also known as "Small Doctor",
In a funfair atmosphere, he thrilled the entire audience as various kids and youths where spotted dancing and singing alongside the popular artist.
The mouth-watering opening ceremony which started at noon with a resounding Nigeria National Anthem recitation and colorful march-past was indeed a remarkable one; about 7,000 athletes, 30 States featuring in 34 Sporting event is already a significant development in Nigeria.
Since inception of the maiden edition of the National Youth Games in 2013 that was conducted by the National Sports Commission in Fct-Abuja; talents has been discovered, lives has been transformed and economy has change through the grassroots tournament.
It’s objectives is to build talents, enhance and elevate Sports, established athletes from generation to generation, curb age cheating athletes and encourage early participation, to educate and inspire them in playing active role in the society, to reinvigorate national unity and youth collaboration, encourage massive participation of youths in Sport activities for physical and health benefits.
In 2013 the championship featured 14 Sports, 98 events with 4,080 accredited athletes from 32 States and 370 talented athletes was discovered; and the previous edition had 5,534 athletes who were involved in 33 Sporting events as 307 athletes were discovered.
More also, Delta State emerged overall winner with 27 gold, 24 silver, 16 bronze; Lagos clinched 2nd position with 23 gold, 15 silver, 22 bronze; Bayelsa finished 3rd with 11 gold, 7 silver, 16 bronze while Ogun and Akwa-Ibom occupied 4th and 5th respectively.
According to The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Sunday Akin Dare has revealed that National Youth Games (NYG) was initiated to empower the teeming youths to achieve their dreams.
The Minister who was represented by the Director Grassroots Development, Dr Ademola Are made the revelation during the opening ceremony of the 5th edition of the National Youth Games at the University of Ilorin Sports Complex, Kwara State.
Dare added that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development endorsed the annual National Youth fiesta achieve the set goals. He added further that" It was also to stem the tide of the youth restiveness in all the nooks and crannies of the country as well as create career path ways for youths".
While declaring the Games open, Kwara State Governor, Mr. Abdulrahman Abdulrazak ably represented by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Sports, Mr Shuaib Akanbi urged the youths to resist the temptation of cutting corner to success.
The governor added that sports is unify factor that bind the country together, urged the youths to make the the spirit of patriotism be their watchword.
He said, "if we can have embarked on the training and the retraining of the athletes the issues of unemployment in the country will be checkmated".
Elsewhere, Usulor Usulor of Anambra State and Joshua Ajuozie of Edo state won gold medals in the Judo event at the ongoing National Youth Games in Ilorin. Also, Usulor Usulor defeated Angela Elechi of Delta State in the girls Judo (44kg) final while Joshua Ajuozie of Edo state defeated Kehinde Sulaimon of Lagos in the boy's Judo (42kg) final.
The bronze medal bout, Odunayo Babalola of Ondo State beat Alison Ekong of Akwa Ibom to win bronze medal after a golden score duel in the girl's Judo (44kg) while Ubongabasi Iniobong of Akwa Ibom State beat Success Useni of Borno state to win bronze medal in the boy's Judo (42kg).
Nevertheless, apart from several mechanism put in place by the organizers in order to have a hitch-free tournament; they also served everyone present a delicious lunch.
Aside from the arrival dates on the 7th and 8th September, there was a successful conducted screening exercise for the under 15 athletes at the Multi-purpose hall of the above mentioned school in Ilorin.
Japanese Yukio Yamamoto and his boss from Tokyo where spotted among the VIPs that came to discover talents and witness the 5th edition of the NYG games in ilorin.
In conclusion, Gymnastics, Judo, Wrestling and Cricket began today with outstanding turn-out from the fans and Sports enthusiast while the first threes event mentioned will finished tomorrow others will boost the momentum of the athletes who are certainly gearing to become future champions.
Incredibly, the newly appointed Minister of Sports: Mr. Sunday Akin Dare spark up the hopes of young lads today when he visited them at the Multi-purpose hall of the University of Ilorin as they undergo their screening towards the Sporting event.
Amazingly, the Sport administrator early visit which was a huge surprise and inspiration to the athletes this evening as he was accompanied by some Directors and Sport buffs will definitely enhance the performance of the participants this year.
However, the annual youth championship which is scheduled to commence from 7th-17th September, will kick-start today with mind-blowing opening ceremony by 2pm at the University Sport Complex.
Meanwhile, the Director of Grassroots Development, Dr. Ademola Are told newsmen, “As you know this is the 5th edition and we are trying to do more in order to improve on our last year performance” he said.
“Especially in the area of screening, facilities, accreditation, welfare and security we are doing all we can in conjunction with University of Ilorin to ensure we have a more successful game this year” he added.
“We intend to conduct a strict screening exercise as the Sporting federation secretaries are involved and we have all the records of the past performances of these athletes such as bio-data, birth certificate which the the ministry have their own records” Areh maintained.
“Coaches and the officials from the States will be disallow to be part of the screening, because definitely they may want to influence and ensure their wards are passed for the competition. We have been very strict and we will follow it through” he explained.
“Adding icing to the cakes, the cultural display and then we are bringing in some artists alongside popular musician: Small Doctor who is a youth himself; so therefore his performance for this children is to enlarge their telescope and fan base of the annual Sport fiesta and also to bring in more awareness into the youth program”
He continued, “our guest artist followers will be drawn to the game and to enable us see what we are doing, thereby increasing the area of entertainment; were expecting and thirty (30) states that will feature in 34 Sporting activities although four (4) states are yet to arrive; that is why we are looking at the issue of screening, whether to allow
those on the road or not” he told.
MOU that we signed with the University of Ilorin is five (5) years, but I can tell you by the end of next edition which is going to be last event here other venues will be available to us, because so many states have already lining up for the hosting right.
Areh explained further, “the ministry is looking at the area of the next edition in terms of hosting, we want to appreciate God that the game has come to stay” he concluded.
Conclusively, defending champions (Delta State) has brought 380 athletes followed by Anambra with 218 athletes as Edo came with 216 participants while Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom came with 172 and 168 respectively.