Minister of Sports and Chairman of NSC, Mallam Bolaji told Newswatch Sports in Abuja that the commission has lined-up series of programmes aimed at bringing back the lost glory of sports to the country.
The NSC Chairman revealed that plans have been concluded to organise a national Under-17 championships in the country that would assist in discovering the talents.
“During the last National Sports Festival which took place in Lagos, I set up athletes’ observatory group, whose main task was to discover athletes with the potential to be world-beater. Through the report, we discovered that the average age of athletes at the festival was about 24 years of age. And at 24, Usain Bolt had already gone to two Olympic Games,” he lamented
The Minister further noted that it was against this backdrop that the commission has decided to focus more on the grassroots through organising the U-17 version of the National Sports Festival to take care of the developmental components of the National Sports Festival.
“We have put in place mechanism for the establishment of National Under-17 Games. This will serve as a lower tier games for the purpose of talent discovery. It is strictly a developmental competition aimed at discovering talents. An open National Sports Festival without a junior competition like national under- 17 will be counter -productive. It is essential to create a junior competition for children that are still in school,” he said.
“A better structured grassroots sports will need a larger platform like the national under-17 competition for the children to showcase what they are capable of doing.”