Officials on Tuesday complained about age cheats at the ongoing National Youth Games (NYG) in Ilorin in spite of the rigorous screening by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
The officials, who spoke at the competition’s venue, said some sports federations were allegedly behind clearing ineligible athletes to contest at the Games.
The Vice-President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Mr. George Olamide, said it was necessary to allow fair play to take the centre stage in this kind of competition. “Athletics is measurable and if it is so, we need to ensure global standards in the way we do things amid high sense of decency. ADVERTISING “Looking at our performance over the years, you will notice that if an athlete above 30 years is presented to be younger, before you know it, he won’t be able to compete at the world stage for a long time. “Athletes from countries like Jamaica, Kenya and South Africa that are making great impact globally because they developed according to their age. “As a board and country, we need to guard against all these if we wish to get the desired results,’’ Olamide said. Judo Coach, Johnson Mba from Enugu State, claimed that his athletes who were eligible were disqualified and overage athletes were allowed to compete. “I do not just understand the ups and downs decisions from the organizers. “They went ahead to clear overage athletes because they are known by the powers that be in both the ministry and our federation,’’ he alleged. Basketball coach from Nassarawa State, Kareem Mohammed, said that with the inclusion of over age athletes, the purpose of the Games would be defeated. “The Games are not new to us anymore as this is the third edition; so, I think the ministry should have looked for a permanent solution to the scourge of age cheats that is the major setback in the previous editions,’’ Mohammed said. Reacting to the claims, Ademola Are, Director, Grassroots Sports Development in the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports, promised that the complaints would be looked into. He urged the aggrieved-participating states to harmonize their complaints and put it into writing officially.
The NYG which is featuring 31 sports started on Sept. 7 and will end on Sept. 18.