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States must develop sports at grassroots level, says Gumel


President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Engr. Habu Gumel

President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Engr. Habu Gumel, has appealed to the states to focus attention on the growth of sports at the grassroots level.

Speaking at the ongoing 19th National Sports Festival while inspecting facilities at the events, Gumel said sports couldn’t grow to expedition if it is not developed at the grassroots.

He maintained that it was only when attention was given at the grassroots that talents could be discovered to replace the older generation of athletes easily.


The NOC boss informed that the decision to make the ongoing festival open was taken by all the states represented by their sports commissioners at the National Council of Sports meeting in Kaduna.

Gumel cleared the air on any controversy that may arose on the participation of professional athletes at the games, adding that there was no law banning them, as it was the duty of states to catch more athletes in their early ages.

“It will be difficult to stop the older ones from participating in the festival; we have an open championship. It is the duty of the states that are sending the athletes now to do grassroots development.

“They should do catch-them-young so that they can develop the young ones to be able to be at the National Sports Festival and at the same time the federations that are here will now identify the talent so that they can bring them to the national level,” Gumel stated.

The NOC president, however, expressed joy at the use of the Abuja National Stadium for the sports festival.

Meanwhile, the President of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), Musa Nimrod, yesterday lamented the lack of funds as a major factor impeding the growth of the sport in the country.

He said inadequate funding has been stalling the NVBF activities, adding that the problem was likely going to affect the performance of the NVBF, which he informed had a lot of programmes lined up for next year.

He, however, stated that the only way to scale the hurdle of funding was for the private sector to quickly come on board by partnering with the federation.

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