Towards effective roadmap for sports federations 

One of the foremost desires of the Ministry of Sports Development is to ensure the resurgence of Nigeria at the top in the sports arena. It additionally desires to create a competitive atmosphere that will guarantee high performance of our athletes, such as the nation was known for in times past. 

The aspiration is for Nigeria to be restored to the enviable position it had always enjoyed in the podium of galant performance in various global sports. 

It is in pursuit of that goal that the Ministry of Sports Development is working vigorously to quickly come out with a plausible roadmap of activities for the various sports federations. In the forefront of this task of rejigging the federations is the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN). 

The present administration of the federation happens to be dominated by sports managers from Delta state whose proven love and encouragement of sports is legendary. Their coincidental origin from a sports loving state, therefore, makes it a lot easier to understand challenges of both the sports, athletes and the technicalities that can make sports attractive, manageable and profitable.

The President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Chief Tenobok Okowa’s love for sports has been crystal and is made manifest at difficult and challenging times during which he makes available bailout funds for the federation, thus setting example and encouraging selfless service of both the country and humanity.

His reality for true sportsmanship is exemplified in his action to constitute new boards with selected, dedicated persons to serve in different committees. Those must be persons that have good ideas that can drive the federation forward, to achieve success and as well constitute a good reference point. 

The federation, conscious of the need for reliable referencing, has created a Data Bank for its customers, athletes as well as contacts to track any of the athletes for doping and AUI tests. 

The AFN, in addition to the monitoring of their athletes’ events and time, has organised two-day trial for home based athletes in order to ascertain their capability, readiness and preparedness for the imminent African Games events. 

The trial tagged “Pre-African Games Pre-evaluation meet” has, to a large extent, enabled all the home based athletes in Nigeria to have fair participation. New records were broken in 200ms, 400ms 5000ms and long jump. 

The two days pre-evaluation meet helped AFN to assess their performance for proper evaluation, correct time/record of event. It has, however, been confirmed that the athletes are 85% ready for the African Games and with consistent training in camp, they will be confidently ready for a sterling representation of the country.

This year’s National Trials held in Asaba, Delta state, was conducted by the AFN in collaboration with Making of Champions (MOC), a private company known to train athletes, secure admissions for them and facilitate scholarships for them overseas. The trials, hosted in the sports loving state, and given a wide coverage, attracted sports fans across the globe.

Delta state is a strong contender among other states in the sporting world. The state not only makes sporting activities a major curriculum in its business schedules but also institutes attainable landmarks in the aspirations of athletes who win laurels for it. 

Above all, it offers employment to the athletes to enable them earn wages and be responsible parents. Success in sporting activities can be facilitated by a number of factors such as the nurturing of athletes before events, involvement and participation in competitions, availability of equipment for appropriate sports, medical readiness to combat any eventuality, and proper check of the psychological mindset of the athletes. 

For every position in a man’s life, there is a director that should mentor an uprising individual as it is said, “Experience is the best teacher.“ While in the higher institution physical and health is a major department for the study of all sports courses, science subjects are major prerequisites to prepare the undergraduate level entry into sports management and other related courses. Sports is a professional area that requires strict supervision and close monitoring because of its techniques that differentiate an athlete from his/her counterparts. 

This is, therefore, the reason coaches are relevant in the events of athletes. A dietician cannot be said to be irrelevant in the moderation of an athlete whose diet must be in check as the body needs to be flexible before an event. 

Genesis, Champion, Kolawola, Mercy Adekuoye top ranking Nigerian wrestlers have qualified for the 2024 African Games as well as the Olympic Games. Their qualifier was confirmed during their national trials which took place in Yenogoa, Bayelsa state recently. African champion Esther Kolawole overpowered Precious Tejibril of the Nigerian Army in the 62kg. 

The wrestlers competed in 50KG, 62KG, 59KG, 55KG, 65KG, 97 KG and 130KG respectively to produce able and credible persons that would represent the country in the forthcoming games. Among the federations that are hopeful for laurels at the Olympic Games is the Basket Ball D’ Tigress who qualified in Belgium recently. The country is very much hopeful as other federations are still intensifying efforts to add to credible number of sports that will represent the country during the championships. 

With the highly spirited efforts being made by the leadership of Ministry of Sports Development intended to rejig the federations coupled with the positive vibes emanating from the technical crew and participants in sports, it cannot be gainsaid that a bright future of excellent performances awaits Nigeria in both the continental and global stages.

Nwokorie is a press officer, Ministry of Sports Development