Ex-athletes hit Asaba to scout talents for academies, foundations
• Athletics events begin
Athletics events at the Seventh National Sports Festival began at Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, yesterday, with several ex-internationals that operate young talents academy outfits positioning themselves at strategic points to woo best performing young athletes.
The 100m heats (boys and girls), shot put 400m (boys and girls) and 1,500m (boys and girls) were concluded in the afternoon, with some of the young athletes proving their worth.
One of the coaches, Mutiu Oluwa, explained that the contributions of ex-athletes in the discovery and development of young talents could not be overlooked, particularly in youth games.
According to him, unknown to many, Athletics Academies, operated by ex-athletes abroad had contributed over 80 per cent of young athletes in this competition over the years.
He said what most states do is to gather the athletes and camp them during competitions like the National Youth Games.
“l can name five Athletics Academies that usually contributes athletes for major competitions. They include former 400m runner, Princess Mabel Madojiemu Academy, and foundation that used to organised grassroots competitions every year in Edo State. Friday Enoye’s Athletics classics competitions for the discovery of young talents holds every year. The most recent one is the Gara Gombe Athletics Academy that is currently representing the state at this National Youth Games. Several officials from these academies are on ground in Asaba, and I am sure a lot of young athletes will be discovered,” he stated.
Oluwa, who is the head coach of Edo State Athletics, further stated that the contributions of these patriotic former athletes should be applauded.
Another Nigerian with huge contributions to the development, discovery of young Athletes, is Ernest Ijeoma of the International Secondary School inside the University of Lagos, (Unilag).
Coach Ijeoma’s Academy contributed about eight junior athletes to Lagos contingent to the Youth Games in Asaba.
The Imo state-born coach also handles children of ex-athletes, who followed footsteps of their parents.
Ijeoma said that former athletes have contributed immensely to the discovery of young talents through their yearly grassroots.
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