No fewer than 351 boys and girls and 104 officials will take part in the zonal elimination of the North-Central Zone for the National Youth Games, the zone’s Coordinator, Patrick Uwagbale, said on Thursday in Ilorin.
Uwagbale told newsmen as the competition entered Day 2 that coaches and directors of sports from the zone had been warned to desist from fielding overage athletes.
He explained that any athlete who was overage and made it to the games, when discovered would be banned for two years with the coach serving the same punishment and would pay a fine of N5 million to the state.
He thanked the state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, for accepting to host the zonal elimination within short notice after Kogi and Plateau states had turned down the chance to do so.
The North-Central coordinator said the zonal elimination for team sports only became imperative to decongest the games proper.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman Nigeria Directors of Sports Forum and Kwara Director of Sports, Malam Tunde Kazeem, assured the states of fair officiating and screening of the athletes.
He urged the participating states to bear with the state if there were shortcomings during the elimination because the state was not prepared to host initially.
Kazeem said that the Youth Games was a formative stage for the athletes hence the reason to for the screening to be strict so that the right athletes were allowed to take part.
He disclosed that independent persons had been contacted to conduct the screening and urged the coaches to cooperate with the people screening the players.
The Kwara director of sports urged the umpires to be fair in their judgment.