LSSC D-G hails Minister of Sports, Owan-Enoh's stance on NIN for NYG athletes' screening

Posted : 25 September 2023
On Monday, the Director General of the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Mr. Oluwatoyin Gafaar, praised the Minister of Sports, John Owan-Enoh,'s stance on the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) for the screening of eligible athletes for the ongoing National Youth Games in Asaba.

Gafaar gave the commendation in an interview held at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere. Speaking on the stance of Sports Minister Owan-Enoh, the LSSG DG laid emphasis on the importance and objective of the Youth Games as an avenue to raise future stars and not win at all costs.

Recall that the Minister of Sports, Owan-Enoh, had waded into the controversies surrounding the method of screening the young athletes in order to detect age cheating.

Owan-Enoh then insisted on the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) for the screening of the athletes, adding that its adoption in screening athletes will mitigate age cheating.

Sen. Owan-Enoh said his directive to the officials on the compulsory presentation of NIN at the screening venue for athletes was irreversible, as the government is determined to get it right from the grassroots.

On the issue of facial screening, Owan-Enoh insisted that NIN must be used to resolve it, and athletes must insist on it, adding that the system may not be perfect for the moment, but all must ensure that there is improvement in the process for the purpose of sports development.

He noted that youth games were meant for the discovery and development of budding talents for the country at the grassroots, but age cheating has become a cankerworm. ''If age cheating is not completely checked, it is capable of destroying the government’s efforts at developing grassroots sports.

''The issue of age cheating in sports is an area in which the Ministry requires the support and collaboration of all stakeholders, including the media. ''I have directed that NIN presentation is a compulsory requirement for screening, and the directive has not been reversed,'' he said.

Lending his voice to the Sports Minister's stance, Gafaar said those who have nothing to hide should be bold enough to present their athletes' NIN. '

'If some of those presenting athletes have nothing to hide, they should be able to present their athletes' NIN, which is almost readily available on request anywhere in Nigeria. ''Our eyes must not be shifted from the primary objective of the youth game, which is young athletes' development. We are meant to set the standard for them. ''

Our focus should be on sports development from the grassroots to elite sports, and this is our stance in Lagos State. ''We, on our part, want to develop the young ones into the best athletes without encouraging them to cheat.

We have seen a lot since the screening started, some trying to cut corners. Gafaar disclosed that Lagos State would not condone age-based cheating as it would ultimately destroy the purpose of the Youth Games.

''For us, our U-15 is what they are; we won't cut corners; even our athletes are one of the youngest in the competition, and we don't mind. '

'We even gave younger ones like Funmilayo Oyero, an 8-year-old golfer, that we present, and other in her category, we also have Florence Olarinoye, aged 12, who won three gold medals in weightlifting.

''The young ones should be allowed to express themselves and develop instead of mixing them up with those that are older, because we want to win at all costs.

''Our focus in Lagos is real talent discovery through these young ones and not cutting corners,'' he said.


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