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Davis explains why NGF won’t resume grassroots programmes now

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These are trying times for sportsmen and women the world over. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has made life tough for everybody and since social distancing is one of the ways to fight the spread of the virus, it has become impossible for most sports to continue their programmes.

Although some sports have started gradual resumption of activities, albeit, without fans, there is still apprehensive among many others as the COVID-19 numbers keep rising.

Among the hardest hit associations is the Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF), which has suspended or totally cancelled some of its programmes for the 2020 season.

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The federation, which is saddled with the responsibility of developing the game from the grassroots, has been forced to suspend most of its development programmes by the pandemic. One of the sources where the NGF pulls its budding stars is schools, which have been on forced recess for more than three months.

Although there have been calls for the government to recall pupils to schools, the NGF cautions against hasty return because of the dangers the pandemic poses to students.

Insisting that it is not in a hurry to resume its grassroots programmes, the NGF said it would not be stampeded into calling players together for some of its annual programmes, adding that doing so would be insensitive to the prevailing situation in the country.

According to NGF Secretary-General, Oludare Davies, the grassroots programmes would only resume when there is a healthy population back to school.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious issue globally, which is the reason we cannot have tournaments for now… there’s need to contain the spread of the disease.

“The safety rules require social distancing, but at tournaments, people will definitely come together; it will be highly impossible to observe the social distancing rule.

“This is why NGF is not against the restrictions imposed by governments, particularly shutting down schools and other social institutions to contain the spread. The pupils and students should return to school in good health and study under a good atmosphere; that is our interest.

“The NGF can only organise tournaments when it is safe for the population. NGF tournaments are usually grassroots tournaments, which are best organised amongst children of primary and secondary schools age brackets,” he explained.

Among the suspended tournaments are the Awa Ibraheem Junior Open Tournament, the Zonal Junior Open tournaments, and the IBB Junior Open, as well as other international tournaments, including the World Amateur Team Championship.

avis is optimistic that the situation would have improved by October, which is the tentative date fixed for the celebrated Awa Ibraheem Junior Open tournament in Lagos.

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