The Velodrome of the Abuja National Stadium will come alive today, as President Goodluck Jonathan officially launches Rhythm N’ Play, an initiative of the Nigeria Academicals Sports Committee (NASCOM) which was inaugurated by the Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi late last year as part of his playground to podium policy.
With the intention of involving two million kids in the next two years, Rhythm N’ Play is an exciting youth-friendly campaign aimed at enhancing mass youth participation in sporting activities and age-grade competitions.
For the Chairman of NASCOM, Yemi Idowu, the project would help reposition sports in order to facilitate the mass participation and early discovery of young sporting talents at the grassroots level.
“The Rhythm N’ Play campaign is intended to reach children between the ages of 12 – 17 years and encourage active participation in regular sporting activity.”
After the launch, we will go to work at the state level by getting our ambassadors and stakeholders in each state to initiate the launching of the programme at the state level cascading down to the local government levels.
NASCOM has decided to work through the Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF) and Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON) at the state level. After the launch, we are also going to launch the harmonized calendar for our stakeholders and we will seek publicity and sponsorship for all their programmes,” he said.
He added, “Rhythm N’ Play will rely heavily on the use of music, celebrities, volunteers, new media and other elements of pop culture to amplify and realize its objectives.
We think that our target of involving two million kids within two years of its inception is a realistic target, which has been set by the Honorable Minister of Sports/Chairman, National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, when he approved the project. Children of school age are the primary participants of Rhythm N’ Play and this includes kids within and outside the formal education system.
The campaign is intended to reach children between the ages of 12 – 17 years and encourage active participation in regular sporting activity, ”
For him, the campaign would be integrated into junior and secondary school sporting activities nationwide with Rhythm N’ Play Clubs set up in schools nationwide.
Six sports – football, athletics, ball games, calisthenics, martial arts and racket sports are the sports that Rhythm N’ Play will use, while the best sporting talents discovered through the platform of the programme will converge, fraternize and participate at the National Youth U-17 Games recently instituted by the National Sports Commission (NSC).