By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna
99 athletes are participating in the 3rd edition of the “One Service One Medal” (OSOM) Games taking place in Kaduna.
taking place in several venues, including the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Murtala Mohammed Square.
Director Grassroots Sports Development, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Dr. Ademola Are, disclosed this, while briefing newsmen at the Media Centre of the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna on Sunday.
He said that OSOM was introduced by the ministry to hunt for talents because the military and para military have been a source of podium success in the past for the country.
“That was why the ministry sought synergy to tap into available talents from the service personnel,” he said.
He explained that in spite of challenges, they have been able to continue hosting the games.
“We have been having challenges, but with our zeal, we are ensuring the games does not die, the economic situation not withstanding,” he added.
Dr. Are explained that they will be doing seven sports, including the traditional tug of war, football, athletics, karate, shooting, table tennis and tennis.
all will be medals winning.
“Karate has commenced this morning and has been concluded,” he added.
Responding to questions, he said that they have medical people on ground and what happened at the karate was a fracture of the finger and there was nothing they could do but first aid, after which the athlete was taken to Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital.
On the absence of some services from the games, he said that they made their position known earlier, blaming the security challenges bedeviling the country.
“The security of the nation is important and the personnel are over stretched so some apologized for not being able to participate as a result of being over stretched in security operations across the country,” he said.
On the impact of the games from the first two editions, he said that some athletes have been discovered.
“We have been discovering athletes and some of them have represented us internationally,” he stressed.
Speaking further, he said that Nigeria cannot win medals if it doesn’t have a stream of athletes to take over from the present crop.
“To prepare an athlete, you will require a minimum of N20m. What we are spending on athletes is still peanuts. You can’t use four years in training an athlete for Olympics,” he noted.
The Director Grassroots Sports Development decried the practice in Africa whereby sports development is left solely to the government.
“We are Nigerians and sports not only in Nigeria, but Africa is solely sponsored by the government, which is really unfortunate,” he lamented.
Reacting to the long absence of the National Sports Festival (NSF), he said that it was the host state that could not complete its venues.
“One of the objectives of NSF is to give states opportunity to develop facility. It took long because the state supposed to host kept shifting the goal post. We had to shift it to Abuja I can assure you, the festival would hold” he assured.
Responding to the issue of civilians represents some of the military or para military outfits, he dismissed it as a non issue.
“Once you belong to a service, you are eligible to take part. You don’t have to be a uniform wearing. Most of these services use sports to recruit. If there is any,” he pointed out.
He appreciated the efforts of the media in coverage of activities not the ministry.
Dr. Are said, “The sports ministry and the media must work together. We want to appreciate members of the media we want to say a big thank you to you and we hope the relationship will continue
While extending condolences to the Assistant Secretary Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Kaduna State, he said, “We want to use this opportunity from the ministry to sympathise with Mr. Jacob Onjewu Dickson, the Online Editor of New Nigerian who lost his mother, on behalf of our Minister, we express our condolences,” he said.
The Zonal Secretary North West, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) thanked the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, for supporting the recently concluded Kaduna SWAN Secondary Schools Indoor Sports Competition and assured of continuous support and partnership with the ministry.
Other top dignitaries present at the briefing included, Deputy Director, Liaison Officer of Lagos, Alhaji Bide Durotoye, Zonal Coordinator North West, Mr. Luke Olusola, and an Assistant Director of the ministry, Mr. Okeke.