.Photo caption: Sports Minister, Dr. Tammy Danagogo addressing the Team Nigeria contingent to the African Youth Games slated for Botswana. –
Nigeria is sending about One Hundred and fifteen athletes to compete at the 2014 African Youth Games which is scheduled to begin from 22 through 31 May in Gaborone, capital city of Botswana.
This number represents a significant increase in the number of athletes the country sent to the first edition of the games held in Rabat, Morocco in 2010 when the number of contingent was sixty-eighty and the country won 10 medals.
The 115 athletes are expected to participate in 16 different sports namely; Athletics, Badminton, Taekwondo, Boxing, Rowing, Canoeing, Golf, Judo, Karate, Table Tennis, Tennis, Weightlifting, Cycling, Swimming, Volleyball and Football.
Speaking to the contingent shortly before their departure, the Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, NSC, Dr. Tammy Danagogo charged them to be worthy Ambassadors and sustain the level of patriotism and zeal which they had displayed throughout the training sessions in order to bring glory to the country.
“As Ambassadors of your country, your responsibility is enormous as the hopes of 170 million Nigerians are upon you”, said the Minister.
The Minister therefore urged them to maximize the opportunity and redouble their efforts and win more laurels in order to prove to rest of Africa that Nigeria is indeed the giant of Africa with the highest economy, which can be translated into the sports sector.
“As Ambassadors, the expectations are high, the image of the country rest upon your shoulders not only to double the feat at the inaugural edition, but also to represent the nation fairly by shunning youthful vices capable of disparaging the country’s image”.
Danagogo further said the AYG Games is a spring board to the Youths Olympics slated for China later in the year, giving the assurance that any athlete that performs well in this Games will automatically represent the country in China and will be rewarded for their performance by the Presidency.
Speaking on behalf of the athletes, Andong Essien, captain of Team Nigeria promised that they would be good Ambassadors and come home with lots of laurels.
The high point of the occasion was the formal hand over of Team Nigeria to the President of the Nigerian Olympic Committee Engineer Sani Ndanusa by the Minister and the presentation of the International Olympic Committee Plaque to the Honourable Minister of Sports.
Present at the occasion were Engr. Habu Gumel IOC Executive member and other directors of the National Sports Commission.
The African Youth Games is an international multi-sports event held every four years to complement the current All Africa Games.
The 2014 Games is the 2nd edition of the African Youth Games. About 2, 500 athletes from 54 countries are expected to compete in the Games.