Okowa in cloud nine as Delta wins Fifth National Youth Games in Ilorin
They won the multi-sports youth development Games for the fourth time in 2018, after garnering a total of 67 medals, made up of 27 gold, 24 silver, and 16 bronze. But yesterday in Ilorin, Team Delta pumped up the volume by grabbing a total of 104 medals, made up of 41 gold, 32 silver, and 31 bronze.
Team Lagos finished second with 72 medals made up of 22 gold, 36 silver, and 14 bronze, while Bayelsa was third with 45 medals made up of 17 gold, six silver, and 22 bronze.
Akwa Ibom finished fourth on the table with 41 medals made up of 16 gold, 12 silver and 13 bronze with Edo State ending in distant fifth position with 30 medals made up of 13 gold, seven silver, and 10 bronze.
Hosts Kwara, which finished ninth in the overall table last year, wobbled once again by sliding to the 13th position with just 22 medals made up of three gold, seven silver, and 12 bronze.
33 states and the FCT participated in this year’s edition of the National Youth Games, with Team Adamawa and Kebbi failing to win a single medal. Katsina and Taraba got one bronze medal each.
Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, said yesterday that the Ministry was achieving its objective of using the Games to discover young athletes.
The National Youth Games was introduced in 2013, as a youth development initiative, and was designed to hold annually, but that was only achieved three years after the first edition. The 17-year age bar was reduced to 15 years after the third edition in 2017, to ensure that the youth development target was sustained.
After winning the fifth edition at the University of Ilorin yesterday, the chairman of Delta Sports Commission, Tony Okowa told The Guardian that the state government had invested heavily in youth programmes, stressing that the athletes and officials worked extra hard before embarking on the journey to Ilorin.
“We thank God for making this victory possible, and we equally thank our governor (Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa) for believing in Team Delta. The government gave us the moral and financial assistance we needed to succeed,” the Delta Sports Commission boss stated.