NYG: Exploits of Team FCT, knocking on Minister’s door

By Ikenna Okonkwo on 25/09/2017

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Ikechukwu in action at NYG

Barely one week after the 3rd edition of National Youth Games (NYG) ended inside prestigious University of Ilorin, Kwara state capital, the only talking point on the lips of seasoned sports administrators have been how the exploits of Athletes who distinguished themselves would be sustained.

At Unilorin, almost 3000 Athletes from over 30 states took part in various sporting activities spread across the centres within the campus except for Swimming and golf events which didn’t find a place inside the school.

For Team FCT which paraded unarguably the youngest Athletes, it was another opportunity to make a major sporting statement at the games. For the records, officials from the nation’s capital for the second consecutive time, presented athletes that were confirmed by organisers as the youngest in the competition.

In 2016, the current leadership of the Federal Capital Territory Administration in keeping to its averred mandate of grooming burden talents from the very grassroots through its sports council paraded athletes who are mostly between eight (8) to fourteen (14) years of age.

Come 2017, the FCT government sustained the tempo not minding other states that yearly flood the NYG with over-aged athletes in a sporting programme meant for those not older than 17 years.

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The age-cheat syndrome which characterised the event swept across sports like handball, Table Tennis, Athletics, Tennis, Chess, Wrestling, Karate, Judo among others, yet FCT athletes stood out in all with 14 medals comprising four gold, three silver and seven bronze medals.

The medals would have been more had it been one gold and two silver medals which the team won in gymnastics were included on the medals’ table.

Raging and indeed exploits by FCT Contingents received unprecedented applause from many shortly after a nine-year old, Emmanuel Osadebe dusted his ‘far’ older opponent from Abia state in Chess event and won a medal for Abuja.

Be the way, his elder brother Ikechukwu Osadebe who is about 12 years old, won a gold medal in chess, same way he made waves after emerging a gold medallist last year.

In Table tennis, a 10-year FCT player, Mustapha Mustapha though didn’t eventually emerge overall winner, was repeatedly cheered and given vocal commendation backed with cash thumbs up by spectators who were dazzled at his mastery throughout the contests.

In all, a general survey carried out by organisers shortly before the closing ceremony of this year’s games revealed that FCT with athletes who are below 14 years old stand better chance of filling the yearning gap of Nigeria’s sporting under-performance in the nearest future.

To further boost the sustainability of the gains already wired in motion as part of measures geared towards wading off temptation of being lured by any other state or independent coaches, many are of the view that authorities of FCTA are expected to call these athletes who mainly school Children together as soon as possible and firstly, acknowledge and reward them, then assure them of plans to continuously guarantee a regular training programme.

Technical Director, Badminton Federation of Mr Gabriel Bayang who is also the chairman, FCT Badminton Association believe that according young Abuja athletes a ministerial reception would further boost their moral and psychologically place huge performance responsibility in the future.

His words; “All of us are expecting the FCT Minister to play host to the athletes because it will actually boost the morale of both athlete and officials. In the case of athelets who are already being lured by other states, they will receive assurance of what FCT plans are for them in the future.

Talking about the essence of the youth games; the Badminton administrator remarked; “We are not participating to win but to expose FCT athletes who are much younger than other athletes from other states. I’m quite optimistic that in the next two or three years, they will be up to compete favourable with others not only in Nigeria but in other parts of the Africa.”

Giving detailed account of how FCT athletes fared, acting Director of FCT Sports Council, Chief (Mrs) Dilichukwu Onyedinma affirmed that with more medals which were harnessed, huge and advanced progress was made this year judging from how Abuja fared during last NYG.

She made it clear that regular camping after each school session would help to sharpen FCT athletes the more adding; “The current FCT Minister is youth and sports friendly. After we have submitted the report of what happened during the youth games, we will explain to the minister on the need to keep our young athletes together by creating holiday camping which will help keep them fit and in good form.

“Just as the hen keeps its chicks, that’s the same way we are expected to keep these young ones who are still much in school so that they won’t be tempted to scatter or go elsewhere.

“In FCT, we are not just emphasising winning medals, we are care much about development of athletes before expecting medals. That’s why we are so glad with the pronouncement of the sports minister. The FCT contingent is very happy with the recent development. With the games transforming to under-15, FCT will surely set the pace in the competition as from next year till even next three years.”

As time ticks speedily, all eyes are on the FCTA to do the needful and ensure the sustainability of the growth already put in motion.




Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on September, 25 2017

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