Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalong has advised youths in the country to develop their potentials in sports for them to represent the nation in future sports competitions.
The minister gave the advice on Saturday in Ilorin while declaring open the third edition of the National Youths Games.
He said one of the cardinal objectives of the Millennium Development Goal was to empower the youths to achieve their dreams.
Dalong added that this was the reason why his ministry endorsed the Youths games as a driving force to achieve the set goals and stem the tide of youth restiveness.
He noted that the first edition of the game in Abuja in 2013 produced talented athletes that represented Nigeria at the 2014 Africa Youth Games in Botswana and Commonwealth Games in Samoa winning laurels for the country.
“The National Youths Games (NGY), was tailored after the African Youths Games, Commonwealth Youths Game and Youths Olympic Games which in most cases are for ages 17 and below.
“For Nigeria to effectively reap from the National Youths Games, the ages of athletes in subsequent games will not be above 15,” the minister added.
The minister said this year’s game was expected to produce formidable athletes who would represent Nigeria at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in Argentina and the Africa Youth Games in Algier in Algeria in 2018.
“The Talent Identification Committee should ensure that the right athletes are identified during the game so that grooming of the athletes for the Youth Games in Argentina and Algeria will commence in earnest.
“Sports in Nigeria have grown and have contributed immensely to national unity and have equally brought about a stronger bidding spirit as well as detribalization of Nigeria,” Lalong said.
Newsmen, report that 23 states and FCT took part in the opening ceremony and march past witnessed by the minister, the Vice Chancellor of the university of Ilorin, Prof Abdulrasheed Ambali and representatives of Governors of Kwara and Osun States.
In his speech the Vice Chancellor promised to give any athletes that made the university his or her first choice and obtained the minimum qualification preference in their admission.