The opening ceremony of the 4th National Youth Games begin on Monday at the Sports Complex of the University of Ilorin, Kwara State.
According to the Director Grassroots Sports Development, Dr. Demola Are, 32 states will be taking part in 33 sports during the 10-day event, which has continued to grow in leaps and bounds since Solomon Dalung assumed office as the Youth and Sports Minister.
Are, whose department is solely responsible for grassroots sports development, said the objectives of the games have been fruitful.
He said; “We are happy with the progress made so far in ensuring that for the fourth year in a row, we have continued to organise the National Youth Games which is a vital aspect of unearthing talents.”
He reemphasized that in line with the dreams of the founding fathers of the NYG, athletes identified during the competition will be developed and nurtured for future national and international competitions.
He said: “Those who were discovered in previous games represented Nigeria at the last Africa Youth Games, which served as qualifiers for the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.
“Many of these athletes who were discovered three to four years ago will be representing Nigeria in next month’s Youth Olympic Games which for us is a major milestone.”
“As the competition expands with more states showing interest, roller skating will be having its third demonstration during the games before they can be officially admitted to the games which is also featuring Lagos State for the first time.
“For all these athletes, our target is the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo.
“At least we should be able to see some products of the National Youth Games from different federations in Tokyo. By then, we should be able to really judge how far we have gone.”
The opening ceremony of the National Youth Games, which provides a level playing field for young athletes under the ages of 15, is expected to have former Directors-General of the National Sports Commission, including Dr. Amos Adamu, Dr Patrick Ekeji, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye and Alhassan Yakmut, in attendance.
The competition runs from September 7 to 17, 2018.