By Amaechi Agbo
The Federal Capital Territory, FCT medalists at the just concluded 4th edition of the 2018 National Youth Games, NYG, held in Ilorin, Kwara state, will be hosted by the FCT Sports Council on a date to be announced.
FCT Director of Sports, Mrs Dilichukwu Onyedinma disclosed this in an exclusive interview with our reporter yesterday.
Mrs Dilichukwu who expressed joy over the performance of the FCT contingents to the championship, however said that but for the disqualification of over 30 athletes from the FCT team, they would have bettered their 11th finish at the medals log.
“FCT Sports Council will host the medalists. It is a matter of letting the authority know how we fared and I hope they will be impressed by our performance and from there take up the hosting arrangement. I know that with the FCTA authority, who love children, and looking at the children’s performance and what they did despite the situation, I have no doubt that they will host them.
“FCT is actually the first among the 19 states from north that participated in the National Youth Games. The achievement is good for us and I believe that by the time the authority looks at everything, they will appreciate the children for their efforts just as they have always done.
“The NYG experience is quite interesting. We had hoped for a better position than the 11th. We hoped for 6th or 7th position if not that certain things happened. The age category was brought down to 15 years instead of 17. But because we had a lot of 15 year old children whom we thought could pass the screening but that was not the case. Athletes who were 15 years were not allowed to participate.
“Unfortunately, the organisers decided to use physical appearance to screen the athletes. You know that FCT has high class parents who feed their children well such that their children over grow their age or look older their age. We had all their birth certificates but this time the committee decided not to use birth certificate rather they adopted physical appearance method.
“As a result, most of our children were screened out based on physical appearance and when we showed them their certificates, they agreed that it was an error and promised to rectify it next time,” the former Nigerian Women’s Football League Chairperson said.
The director described the screening method adopted by the organizers as demoralising. “It is really demoralising but we have to accept the outcome in the spirit of sportsmanship because sports are for friendship and nobody should take things to heart when the result did not favour you.
“That notwithstanding, we are very happy that the athletes who were screened in did their best and we got the result which we are proud of. Retaining our position which we achieved in the last edition is commendable.
FCT participated in the Games with a total of 150 contingents who took part in 21 different sports. The NYG organizing committee initially screened out 30 athletes but after much appeal by the director and her officials, some were later screened in but majority were not successful.
Ahead of next year’s edition, Mrs Dilichukwu noted that the council will concentrate on 12 and 13 years athletes because “by facial appearance, they are the ones who really look under 15. We have taken note of what happened and we will now concentrate on 12/13 year old athletes.”
FCT contingent garnered 4 gold, 8 silver and 10 bronze medals to finish in 11th position.