By Kehinde Osagiede
Team Edo contingent comprising 356 athletes, coaches and officials on Thursday left Benin,the Edo state capital for Asaba to participate in the 2023 National Youth Games, with the chairman of Edo state sports commission, Olympian Yusuf Alli placing high value on the state representatives.
Addressing the contingent at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, shortly before departure, the Sports Commission boss said he was impressed with the recruitment process of the athletes.
He urged the young athletes to represent the state well and play to the rules of the games.
“As you depart to represent Edo State in Asaba we are already proud of you. To us as sports commission and government,you are very important to us. You are our diamond. We are preparing you for the future. Some of you will represent Nigeria. You might be competing with athletes older than you at the games but remain focused and represent Edo well. I’m confident you will win.”
Speaking with newsmen later, Alli explained that among 356 contingent are 271 athletes and coaches, while others include secretaries and commission’s officials.
“We are going to use the real under 15. With these kids, the future of sports in Edo is bright. I am so happy that the coaches have done well, preparing the children for the games.”
Olympian Alli disclosed that Edo state would participate in 21 sporting events at the national youth games.
The Edo sports commission Boss who commended Governor Godwin Obaseki for timely release of funds said he was optimistic that the state would surpass the performance at the last edition, even though the official medal table for the games is yet to be released.
“Of course yes, that is why the governor gave us all that we wanted. We went to camp for two weeks. We
” The Governor has released money to us a long time ago. I think we will do well. We even paid them camp allowances, we fed them. I think we are okay,” he said.
Alli, however, advocated for improvement in the organisation of the youth games in Asaba as against the experience in the last edition.
“There are a lot of controversies on the medal table and until they give us a proper table, then we now know our position.
“But right now, nobody knows who was first, second or third because the medals were padded and the whole Nigerians wanted to know the real results of the last games.
“Hopefully, this year will not be the same. I hope such thing will not repeat itself. They should have a proper medal table for these kids for them to know where they stand when it comes to their events in the nearest future. #