PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu has declared the 7th National Youth Games opened as the age-grade sporting event commenced Saturday at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Delta state.
The President, represented by the sports minister, John Enoh, urged the athletes to embrace sportsmanship while noting that the sporting event has been a veritable tool for unearthing talents.
“It is the president’s hope and wish that this kind of event will be better glory and development of sports in our country and the development that this country needs and this game will contribute to the national unity and togetherness of country,” he said.
He urged against age cheating, commending the effort of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), and other stakeholders to verify athletes’ age via their National Identity Number (NIN).
“The issue of cheating in age and in is an area that the ministry requires the aid and the support and collaboration of all stakeholders,” he added.
Earlier, the governor of Delta state, Sheriff Oborevwori, expressed the state’s commitment to contribute to the development of sports in the country, saying that the sporting event helps to foster unity.
“Aside from athletes’ development, the National Youths Games has also proven to be reliable to develop national unity, advance development, and peace to the national and sub-national government.
“It is in our collective interest to harness the power of sports to help build a friendly and more suitable institution for all.
“Hence, the government of Delta state has continued to host national sporting competitions,” he said.
He assured tight security, urging the athletes to seize the opportunities embedded in the game to rise to stardom.
“To all athletes, the moment of truth has come; your family, friends and well-wishers are routing for you to seize the opportunity for the moment to launch yourself into national prominence, so you are mindful of the opportunities,” he added.
Also, the state’s sports commission’s chairman, Tonobok Okowa, advised the athletes to leverage the international standard facilities available.
The opening ceremony witnessed a match pass and musical interlude.
The games will feature 35 sports, with over 5,742 athletes from the 36 states of the Federation, including the Federal Capital Territory.