Sports Minister Sunday Dare

Some sports analysts on Sunday called for sustainability projects to sustain the rising podium finishers of Nigeria, as witnessed in the just concluded Commonwealth Games.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in many sports, results in the top three of a competition are often referred to as ‘podiums or podium finishes.’

Speaking in separate interviews with NAN, the analysts expressed delight over Nigeria’s performance at the Commonwealth Games.

NAN reports that the games started on July 28 and ended on Aug. 8.

They said that Nigeria’s outstanding performances at the games were as a result of commitment by the athletes to the games.

They said that with the successes recorded in the competition, there was the need to sustain the podium finishers of the athletes.

They also urged the government to ensure athletes remain on top of tempo to achieve success for the rising podium finishers to continue.

Tolulope Oguntimehin, a sports consultant, said the team had done the country proud, ”but the major question is how do we sustain it?”

He said that future challenges could be tougher than those they had surmounted.

“ There is the need for athletes to reappear during various performances but we need to maintain podium finishing.

”And how do we sustain the capacity or power of athletes influencing performances in Nigeria?” he said.

Oguntimehin said that in spite of challenges the Nigerian team encountered in the sectors, they made the country proud.

He stated that the magic behind the athletes performances “ still remains on adopt- an – athletes programme and sustainability of project.

“ On an adopt -an-athlete programme, this is to assist in paying for coaches, nutritionists and other things needed to make them perform at their optimum.

“I think it boils down to the sustainability of the project and when you put it into consideration, athletes would be able to bring out the best quality,” he said.

According to him, the Minister of Youth and Sport Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has proved it by achieving his aim and objectives in the just concluded World Championship in Oregon and Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

”The minister went for quality rather than quantity and that decision paid dividends.

“He also keyed into projects that were initiated by his predecessors and he believes that it will lead to the growth of the nation’s sports sector.

“The project is more than seven years, It started with the National Youth Games to National Sports Festival to the World Youth Games games and from there to All African Games and the Commonwealth.

“ And the project is still in a progression and they were able to deliver,” he said.

Oguntimehin said that by the time the minister leaves office, it would be better for the next person to sustain the project.

”And reciprocate beyond his expectations to continue to focus on the athletes, not on the administrators.

“With this achievement, there is a need to focus on the athletes, if you focus on the athletes, you will be able to deliver, there would be no rancour, no complaints and no protests.

”Everything would go smoothly and I think that’s what has led us to where we are today.

“ The minister also made the Federal Government do an upward review of the reward for athletes and that has broken new grounds with Nigeria’s performance and it has been a blessing to Nigerian sports.

“Globally, the minister has initiated many youth oriented programmes aimed at giving Nigerian youth an added advantage and a competitive edge in the global workforce,” he said.

Okwudili Menyei,a coach of Hockey National Team, said that there was persistence by athletes and personal zeal to excel.

“The athletes performed with their minds focused on winning medals from the games,” he said.

Olanrewaju Afolabi, a public affairs analyst, said that the U.S. record of 12:20 which was set in 2016 was broken.

“The men barely got to the podium, but we hope they can beat their chests. There is a need to take responsibility to continue to support them by creating the right environment for their growth.

“I call for revitalising people with mobility issues in sports. We have people from the grassroots more with disability.

”That is the area we need sponsorship by engaging some of them in its activities.

“ I strongly believe that if they are well cared for by looking into their welfare, the nation can discover more podium finishers,” Afolabi said.(NAN)