Nigeria’s Sports Ministry Unfolds Plan To Stop Age Cheat

………. As Para Sports Gets New Department.



By Goodluck Ikiebe.

My Sunday Dare. Minister for Youth and Sports Development


The Nigerian Ministry of Youth and Sports Development says that it will adopt some measures that would be put in place to ensure that adequate screening is carried out to admit athletes for the National Youth Games in the country following the soaring issues around age cheat in the games.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, disclosed this during the closing ceremony of the 6th National Youth Games held in Ilorin, the Kwara State Capital.

Mr Dare, who  expressed his dismay over the current trend of age cheat at the National Youth Games, which is meant for Athletes under the age of 15, frowned at it, emphasizing that this may affect the growth of sports in the country.

According to him, “the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development wants to declare that going forward, we will ensure that we adopt more scientific means of identifying age cheat next time and mete out stiff penalties to the offending athletes and the state they represent.”

“I want to condemn and express my disappointment about a few of the problem around age cheating that continues to roar its head specifically even during this games”, he noted.

Mr Dare stated further that the Ministry  in addition “will consider the National Identity Management Card (NIMC) registration as a requirement, and others that will be rolled out later in our letters that will go out to the States and there will be need for all Athletes to have an NIMC registration before they can participate henceforth”.

“This document would be required, would be developed and we will work in conjunction with the Organization in charge, this measure is needed to avoid losing out on a possible potential medalist being screened out as over aged while they are not or vice versa”, Dare emphasized.

He explained that, the identification of talents since the inception of the Games in 2013 would be attributed to the deliberate policy and initiatives of the Ministry to create a platform for achieving its goals and objectives for selection of athletes to represent the country at international competitions.

The Sports Minister noted that ”As a Ministry, what we have seen here in the last few days have reinforced our belief that every effort put into grassroots sports development is a worthy investment and not a waste.

“This is a crucial step in the initiatives that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has adopted to identify these talents early, give them the technical and financial support, provide them guidance and see them become world beaters in the not too distant future”, he said.

Mr Dare explained that these outstanding  talents and many more that have been identified will be properly groomed and prepared for the African Youth Games in Ethiopia in 2022 as well as the Youth Olympics in Dakar, Senegal.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his constant support that has ensured the harnessing of youth potentials and development of sports at the grassroots level for socio-economic growth of the country.

Speaking earlier, the Vice- Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Technology and Innovation), Prof Mikel Buhari, extolled the collaboration and partnership between the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and UNILORIN on the successful hosting of series of NYG at the ivory tower.

A statement by Director Press and Public Relations, Mohammed Manga, says the 6th National Youth Games draws to a close with Team Delta emerging the overall champions, clinching 60 gold medals, 26 silver and 28 bronze.

Kano State Government is expected to host the 7th edition of the games next year.

In another development, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has commenced the implementation of the newly created Departments in the Ministry following the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation’s approval for the restructuring of the Ministry.

The restructuring which consists of the collapse of the existing Planning, Monitoring and Information (PMI) Department, establishment of Planning, Research and Statistics (PRS) Department, upgrading of the headship of Lagos Liaison Office, also led to the creation of the National Sports Festival and Para-Sports (NSFPS) Department.

Dare said that the approval for the creation of the new department to cater for the growing needs of Para Sports in Nigeria, was based on the impressive performances of the athletes at various national and international competitions over the years.

With this development, he said, “it is expected that attention will be focused on other Para Sports that have not had the opportunity of showcasing their talents, let alone participating in major sporting events either locally or internationally.”

The Minister, who has passionate support for Para-Sports, explained that it has become necessary to create dedicated medium to coordinate, promote and manage the development of Para – Sports in Nigeria.

Mr Dare said this will make it possible to utilize sports as a veritable tool for accelerated social integration and inclusion of persons living with disabilities, in line with the Ministry’s deliverables on 9 points priority areas of Government.

He stated further that the Ministry firmly believed that, with adequate attention and investment, Para- Athletes will not only enjoy new phase of life and livelihood but also enhance Nigeria’s chances of winning more medals at future International Competitions and Games.

Mr Dare, therefore, called on corporate bodies, all well-meaning Nigerians  and relevant stakeholders to support and invest in Para Sports Athletes, stressing that the Ministry remains committed to providing new opportunities for Para-Sports development in Nigeria.