August, 22 2021
By Akin Bolarinwa
Following the cash rewards and appreciation showered on some Nigeria athletes for bringing glory to the country at international competitions, stakeholders are calling on the honourable minister of youth and sports, Chief Sunday Dare to convert same to funds and grants for young and upcoming athletes.
According to the report made available to www.ckdmedia.ng some of the stakeholders agreed that the Junior world athletics championship going on in Kenya is age-grade competition which does not require athletes to receive cash rewards.
According to them, what these young athletes need now is training grants and the opportunities to attend different meets and access to the best facilities and great coaches around the world.
They stated further that if these and other necessary accompaniments are afforded the athletes, then the nation can be sure they'll be able to consolidate on their early birth acheivement in the near future when they graduate to senior athletes.
One of the stakeholder stated "for now, I don't think they need money as much as they need opportunities for improving their talents".
"As we know, Philip Osondu, Victor Igbinoba, Nii Odartey Lamptey, Freddy Adu and a host of other footballers who dazzled at the age grade level but failed to back up their talents at the senior level went into sports Oblivion".
"Nothing is remembered of them today except to be used as negative reinforcements".
"Kanu Nwankwo is not measured today by his winning of the under-17 championship, rather, Kanu is measured by his exploits with the Olympic team, his performances with the Super Eagles, and of course his exploits with Ajax Amsterdam, Arsenal, and other top clubs where he played."
"This proves that age grade exploits count for little if one does not replicate same performance at the senior level"
"In this wise, I am appealing to the minister to kindly shelve the cash rewards, and instead, convert it to training grants, training tours and access to best facilities and best trainers around the world for these athletes so that in the very near future they could translate these performances at the senior level and bring honor to themselves and to our great nation."