The Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) on Saturday said it had conducted screening for all athletes that would represent the state at the forthcoming National Youth Games holding next month in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The LSSC Director of Public Relations, Titi Oshodi, said that the exercise took place inside the main bowl of the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
“The exercise was embarked upon by the sports commission in order to ensure that only eligible athletes are taken to Ilorin for the multi-games competition.
“Some of the associations chairmen, secretaries, coaches and parents were in attendance,” she said.
The Director-General, Lagos State Sports Commission, Oluwatoyin Gafaar, said the screening became necessary toward achieving success at the Games.
“More importantly, to mitigate the chances of the state athletes being screened out from participating at the Games, hence, denying them the opportunity to showcase their talents.
“The process was transparent and straight forward. In Lagos, we adhere to rules and regulations of the National Youth Games and that’s why we brought all the athletes with their coaches and parents to see the genuineness.
“Our focus and determination is to play by the rules. I am really happy for what we’ve done and every one of us can see that the process was fair.
“We are all happy and parents don’t have reasons to complain. The athletes are also happy and coaches now know that they have new challenges of training and working harder in preparing the athletes for a successful outing in Ilorin.
“We made a promise to our amiable Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, that we will not disappoint him because he has played his own part by providing everything for us to succeed.
“This is the beginning of the process of fulfilling our promise to make the state proud at the Games,” Gafar said.
The Chairman, LSSC, Kweku Tandoh, explained that the state wants to maintain the progress made in the area of youth and sports development by fielding athletes who were below 15 years as stipulated by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
“From our own end here, we are determined to present athletes that are definitely under 15.
“We don’t know what other states will do but in Lagos, we believe that if we start young and have an enduring grassroots programmes, we will not have difficulty in producing athletes that are under 15.
“We embarked on this screening process for ourselves to ensure that we go to Ilorin with athletes that are of the right age.
“For us, we are not desperate to win, it’s not win at all cost, but we want to continue the production line of athletes, not just for Lagos State but for Nigeria,” he said.
Tandoh added that the Athletes will undergo medical screening to ensure that they are fit to take part in the Games.
“Team Lagos will continue their training at the closed camp starting from next week till early September.
“The preparations for the teams are ongoing. Don’t forget that we recently concluded the Zonal eliminations in Ibadan where we qualified for nine out of fourteen available slots to represent South West in the team sports.
“Our preparations will continue, the athletes will continue to train and at the end of the screening, we will have the exact name and number of those that will represent us.
“Next week, we will be in Abuja for the Delegates Registration Meeting where the final list of our athletes will be submitted,” he said.
The 5th edition of the National Youth Games holding in Ilorin is scheduled to take place from Sept. 7 to 17.