August, 12 2023.
The 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG), which began in the Port of Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago and ended on Saturday, August 12, 2023 is the seventh edition, but the first since the death of Queen Elizabeth II and ascension of King Charles III.
Out of Nigeria's 25-man contingent to the games, fifteen (15) were eventually registered as athletes and virtually all the eight medals won came from track and field events, which is the traditional mainstay of Nigeria Sports, other than football.
A critical look at the final medal table for the 2023 games in Trinidad and Tobago, with emphasis on the nation's in the top seven, shows that Australia who had 84 Athletes, was first and won as many as 26 Gold medals, to record a performance ratio of 30.95%.
England with 65 athletes, won 16 Gold medals, and that gives a performance of about 24%. Scotland was 3rd with 12 Gold medals won by 52 athletes, that's a performance ratio of about 23%.
South Africa with 54 athletes, won seven Gold medals, a performance ratio of 12.96% and is ranked No.1 in Africa. Team Nigeria with 16 athletes won six Gold medals, and that represents 40%, the best performance ratio, whilst Kenya the 3rd best team from Africa, with 36 Athletes won five Gold medals - a performance ratio of 13.95% to place overall 6th.
The host country, Trinidad and Tobago finished in 7th spot, after the 74 athletes it entered won 4 Gold medal, that's a percentage of 5.41%.
Team Nigeria was 15th at the last edition in Nassau the Bahamas, with 6 Gold and 2 Silver medals. That edition was also won by Australia but with a whopping 171 Gold medals, England was second with 157 Gold medals, South Africa was third with 53 Gold medals, India with 51 Gold medals was fourth, New Zealand got 40 Gold medals to place fifth and Kenya with 11 Gold and 8 Silver medals placed 11th overall and third in Africa.
When you look at all of this, it is crystal clear that Team Nigeria which finished in 15th position in Bahamas, are 5th on the penultimate day of the competition.
The Republic of South Africa has also maintained good form. But the good job or policies anchored on developmental and schools sports, as well as the National Youth Games in Nigeria as promoted by the immediate past Minister of Sports, Chief Sunday Dare have yielded bountiful dividends and as a country, we should be proud to sustain these policies and find a way of making them more prosperous in the coming years.
Comparatively, it goes to tell you how far Nigeria has come.
Team Nigeria went to Port of Spain, with only potential podium athletes, and in sports where the country got good comparative advantage.
Our sprinters performed with efficiency, but many would agree that as a country, we should not completely degrade other disciplines.
At least Nigeria should also be able to send some other athletes to such games for international exposure. Especially those that are within ages 14 and 15 years bracket.
The CYG is open for outlets between the ages 14 to 18 and being that the NYG is for athletes aged 15 and under, we can afford to expose a few more youngsters with promising potential, so that they can champion our chase for medals, when they are 16, 17 and 18 at major Youth Games and with time fiestas like the African Games, African Championships, Olympics and Commonwealth Games proper.