An Oyo State Kickboxing Coach, Gabriel Kingsley, has urged sports authorities across the country to improve on the welfare packages of athletes to make their careers attractive.
Kingsley said this on Wednesday in Lagos that athletes’ allowances, intermittent medical checkups, training kits, facilities and occasional training tours should be enhanced.
“We will continue to emphasise the welfare of athletes until something significant is done by our sports authorities at the various levels of administration.
“Preference must be given to anything concerning athletes with the purpose of making their training environment friendly, develop their skills and create opportunity for them to gain exposure ahead of tournaments.
“These steps will enhance the growth of sports and encourage other youths who engage in vices to channel their skills to sports such as the martial arts,’’ he said.
Kingsley said that competitions should be organised regularly in the states and at zonal levels to assess the athletes and enable them to familiarise with their peers in preferred sports.
According to him, the “must win syndrome’’ should be discouraged at grassroots competitions for budding athletes to develop into quality athletes through self-effort.
“Grassroots competitions play major roles in the development stages of athletes, so, we need to encourage our sports authorities to make adequate arrangements to get them to participate in tournaments.
“The purpose is for them to make competitions part of them, get acquainted to competition rules and interact with their mates outside their communities,’’ he added.
Kingsley added that coaches must ensure that athletes with poor performances at competitions were cheered because they would naturally be demoralised by defeats.