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Olympian, Opeyori hails Lagos Sports Summer Camp initiative

By Samuel Ifetoye
22 August 2021   |   4:13 am
Anuoluwapo Juwon Opeyori, who represented Nigeria at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in badminton, has lauded the Lagos State government’s Sports Summer Camp initiative, which he described as a very good development, which will help to unearth budding talents.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Olympian and Facilitator, Anuoluwapo Juwon Opeyori (left), Director General, Lagos State Sports Commission, Oluwatoyin Gafar Bolowotan and Facilitator, Mrs. Damilola Sanayon-James at the Lagos Sports Summer Camp in Badagry…on Thursday.

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Anuoluwapo Juwon Opeyori, who represented Nigeria at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in badminton, has lauded the Lagos State government’s Sports Summer Camp initiative, which he described as a very good development, which will help to unearth budding talents.

The camp is a centre for youths to learn other skills in sports and vocations while still facing their education. It is organised by the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s office and facilitated by the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC).

Speaking to The Guardian at the Badagry’s camp, Opeyori said it was a good idea that the state thought it out to expose students to other skills that might be useful to them in the future.

“I think it is a good idea bringing me here to mentor and inspire these youths for them to know my path to becoming an Olympian and Africa’s top-ranked badminton player,” he said.

Though the camp is not only about learning skills in sports, because other vocations are also available to learn, he said, “Everything points towards the same goal, which is striving for success in life.

“Success goes with attitude, determination and may other things, which the participants are being tutored on for them to have the mindset if they are to achieve something great in life. That is why I shared with them my humble beginning to becoming what I am now in badminton.

“The summer camp is a laudable project and I believe the Lagos State Sports Commission thought it through before inviting me to be part of inspiration to these youths. I also feel fulfilled having the honour to talk to them just to inspire them,” he said.

The Director General of LSSC, Oluwatoyin Gafar Bolowotan, who spoke to The Guardian, explained that the camp would give them opportunity to interact in order to also share ideas and beliefs while they learn skills of their choice.

“The idea behind the summer camping is to give our children opportunity to mingle and network, sharing ideas, beliefs, cultures of where they come from. These youths come together to learn under the same roof and we can see how better our society can be.

“The basic idea behind the camp is to build a new Nigeria, a new Lagos. Our youths have their own opinions about the country. But we need to build a new agenda, narratives all together and we need to start it now with the youth.

“The turnout for the camp was impressive because we had wanted 120 youths and we were able to get 120, spread across the state. There is no council that is left behind from private to public schools. And these are children from different backgrounds mixing together and we have started seeing results.

“There is an example of a child who has a phone. He just finished talking to his parents and the next thing he asked the youth beside him if he too wanted to talk to his parents and the guy said yes. He then asked do you know the number. I was impressed with the show of love and I was very happy to see that in our youth.

“If we can continue this way, we will have a better Nigeria. That is exactly what we want and that is the reason why the summer camp was organised because it is a new Nigeria that we are talking about where we do things voluntarily to one another without any string attached to it,” he said.

A facilitator at the event, Mrs. Damilola Sanayon-James, said: “I took the youth on leadership: how to develop their leadership skills, interrelating it with sports so that they can be outstanding in their choosing field. Of course, discipline cuts across — decisions, way of life, attitudes and attributes.”

Sanayon-James, said: “The camp is a brilliant idea and there is a proverb that says, catch them young. I believe this is what the state is trying to do by catching them young. Here, I have seen a lot of creativity coming out of the youth and I have seen a lot of unique personalities in some of the participants.

“I know that they are indeed scholars that Lagos is trying to groom for a better future, especially in the sports’ corridor. I am saying this because I am a youth advocate and mind reengineering professional. I work with the young people to redevelop their minds, to shoot their minds towards the right directions so that they can achieve more for themselves.”

The LCCS DG added: “For whatever sports or skills the youth are going to learn here, there shall be a follow up because this is part of the reason the event was organised. It is also part of our duty to follow on what they have learnt to truly see that they understood what they were taught.

“Badagry was our first point of call, followed by Ikorodu (Lagos East) and the third one is the Lagos Central, which will be somewhere in Surulere. Hopefully next year, it will be bigger as we plan to get corporate entities involved in it now that the government has begun it,” he stated.