Coaches warn against age-cheat as organisers start screening athletes
Organisers of the 2021 National Youth Games have been told to be vigilant in the screening of athletes today ahead of tomorrow’s opening ceremony.
The government and people of Ilorin have demonstrated their passion for youths by hosting all editions of the Games since 2013 and the sixth edition will come alive at the University of Ilorin sports center and Kwara State sports complex, Ilorin, from tomorrow to October 20, 2021.
The sixth edition was earlier scheduled to hold from October 10 to 20, but the event was moved forward due to hitches in logistics across athletes’ camp, games village and others.
The readjustment was done in such a way that it still falls within the earlier scheduled closing ceremony day, October 20, 2021.
Some coaches and states’ officials, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday, urged the committee members to be vigilant in the exercise by ensuring that athletes, who are above the stipulated age, are not allowed to participate.
“This competition is for U-15 athletes and we want the screening committee to adhere strictly to the rules. They must not give room for age cheats in this game. The National Youth Games is the foundation of Nigerian sports. If we must lay a good foundation for the future, it has to begin with the screening of the athletes,” one of coaches said.
Athletes will contest for medals in 36 sports, in individual games and team games. The University of Ilorin will host about 92 percent of the games, including the opening and closing ceremonies, at the Maracana 1 Stadium, Unilorin.
Meanwhile, Director of Grassroots Sports Development, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Dr. Bode Durotoye has assured that the ministry would be strict in screening athletes for the games.
Durotoye said the ministry would ensure that only qualified athletes are allowed to compete, stressing that the games is for U-15 athletes.
He stated that the ministry was committed to organising a standard competition, adding that all is ready for the games.
He said that in spite of the initial hitches faced by the organisers, the 28 states present in Ilorin have been provided accommodation for their athletes. The director enjoined participating states to compete in line with the games’ rules.