Ilorin – Mrs Dilichukwu Onyedinma, Leader of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) delegation to the ongoing National Youth Games (NYG) in Ilorin, on Wednesday commended the event’s Screening Committee, for doing good job.
Onyedinma, who gave the commendation in an interview in Ilorin, said that this year’s screening was better than the previous years.
NAN reports that no fewer than 500 athletes were dropped from the 10-day event at the University of Ilorin, holding from Sept. 7 to Sept. 17, for being overage.
“The screening this year is better than what we had in previous years; it has been able to bring the age within what is expected, instead of allowing states to use overage athletes.
“But we still have states trying to manoeuvre things.
“Like in gymnastics, where we ought to win gold, and we eventually won silver, the silver is like gold because we have very young athletes and with them, there is greater tomorrow for us,” she said.
Onyedinma said, “I am impressed with what happened this year; the organisers brought Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON) to do the screening, and they did a perfect job.
“I will advise that we should leave it with YSFON. But for all these lobbying up and down, which resulted in second screening; that is where they gave room for manoeuvering.
“This is not good for our sports because at this level, we are asked to go and develop athletes,” Onyedinma said.
She, however, condemned the alleged poaching of athletes by some state at the Games.
“States should be seen developing their athletes. It is sad that some of these states, who think that they can start using money to woo athletes at this age, are spoiling the catch-them-young programme.
“We had two chess players that we have been training since they were two years old because their father was our player.
“We have been taking these children for competition; and just last year, they started winning medals for us. But this year, Bayelsa poached them away from us,” she said.
Onyedinma urged the Federal Government to discourage poaching of athletes at this level. (NAN)