Former sprinter, Chinedu Odozor-Onikeku has urged parents and coaches in all sports to join hands to mitigate the over-age syndrome killing Youth Competitions in the country.
The former long jumper expressed her concern for the malaise in a chat with journalists in Asaba venue of the National Youth Games.
According to the light skinned former athletic prodigy, age cheat in Sports is killing the progress made so far in producing and raising young talents to be future champions.
“When I started AthIetics in the late 90’s, age cheating was not in vogue because we were discovered and drawn from Schools, our parents and coaches were aware and would insist our real ages be recorded for us, but now, Parents and coaches across board are even assisting age cheaters to include overage AthIetes in Grassroots competitions thereby frustrating efforts of sponsors.”
Mrs. Onikeku who is now helping a few AthIetes with coaching concerns said, “it’s important that concerned sports men and women should frustrate the efforts of age cheaters not to strive for the over all interest of sports development in the country.
“You can imagine when a 17 year old AthIete competes with under 15, the difference would be very clear as discouragement and frustration will set in because a young talented Athlete have been cheated”.
Mrs Chinedu Onikeku, a Customs officer said, ” If this dangerous trend is not curbed, catching them old will continue to strive and won’t be healthy for sports development in Nigeria”.
She however lauded the Delta State government for hosting the Youth Games and encouraged all and sundry to help maintain and always keep the facilities provided for the games in top shape.
The ever smiling former AthIete praised young AthIetes participating in the Youth Games to take sports and their education very seriously as both go hand in hand.