Participating athletes and teams at the inaugural National Youths Games (NYG) will not be awarded medals should they emerge victorious, declares the Minister for Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi.
The NYG, a platform created by the NSC to encourage youths’ participation in sports, has been scheduled for December 5th through 15th in Abuja.
Among the sports expected to feature in the maiden edition of the youth sports fiesta are: boxing, badminton, squash, handball, weightlifting, taekwondo, track and field, handball, powerlifting, basketball, football, volleyball, table tennis, tennis and wrestling.
About 4250 boys and girls from across the 36 states of the federation (Abuja inclusive) are expected to participate at the event.
Abdullahi also clarified that athletes eligible to compete in the games would be those enrolled in school, as their record of enrollment would be checked properly.
The sports minister explained that the reason why no medal will be awarded at the event is to discourage cheating.
“Every athlete will get a certificate of participation and one of the reasons we decided that there will be no medals is for contingents not to have room to bring overage children into the competition,” he said.
“The moment we start giving medals, everyone leading athletes to this competition will worry about their position on the medals table. Therefore, they will do all they can to win.”
Senate President David Mark, speaking at the unveiling of the official mascot and logo of the games, called for the allocation of more funds to sports.
He urged the NSC to ensure that the NYG serves in identifying genuine talents capable of uplifting the nation’s status in sports in the future.
“What we want is for them (the athletes) to get us what we want. It is not the name, where they come from or who sponsors them that matters,” Senator Mark said.
“I want to urge that we forget politics, religion and ethnicity in this talent-hunt, for us to have genuine Nigerians who will take us to where we want to be in sports.”