September, 21 2023.
Athletes and Officials of Team FCT eventually departed Abuja this morning, and are now on their way to Asaba, the Capital of Delta State for the 7th edition of the National Youth Games (NYG); which gets underway today with a colourful opening ceremony at the Stephen Keshi Memorial Stadium, Asaba.
The Contingent is led by the Assistant Director in charge of Sports Development in the FCT Sports Department, Iyiola Ogundele and they are traveling by a road in a convoy, with special security cover.
Speaking to Radio Nigeria shortly before their takeoff from the Old Parade Ground in Area 10 Garki, Mr. Ogundele said the goal of the team in Asaba is to better their overall performance, when the youth games was last held in Ilorin, in 2021.
"As you well know, the FCT now has a new Minister, whose track record as a lover of youths and sports is huge. We are compelled to ensure we excell by finishing in the top-5, with a view to wow him and give the people of Abuja something to cheer as well. As you also know, these athletes are their children, and we are glad they were released to us", Ogundele said.
On the occasion of the 6th NYG in Ilorin, Team FCT garnered a total of 36 medals, comprising 10 Gold, 9 Silver and 17 Bronze medals, to place a respectable 7th, despite featuring one of the smallest continent, who were strictly ages fifteen and under.
"As I told you yesterday, the spirit of these youngsters are very high. Our coaches have also done their bits to pit them in their best shape. We have no complaints at all, as our welfare has been well catered for, even before the new minister resumed. Our expectation is to win over the Minister [Nyesome Wike] by posting good results", he added.
Team FCT will be competing in fourteen (14) disciplines; Athletics, Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Chess, Golf, Gymnastics, Judo, Karate, Shooting, Taekwondo, Tennis,Trado Sports and Weightlifting.
"These sports were carefully chosen being that they're areas where we have comparative advantage over the years. The unique nature of Abuja, as a capital city also influenced our choices. Most of the athletes come to training sessions from their homes, and we are grateful to their parents who drives them to and from their practice centres", Ogundele concluded.
Over four thousand two hundred athletes and officials from the FCT and the 36 States of the federation are expected to converge on Asaba, the capital of Delta State for the fiesta, which runs at the Stephen Keshi Memorial Stadium and other adjoining venues until September 01, 2023.