President of Nigeria Weightlifting Federation, NWF, Chibudom Nwuche, on Monday in Abuja called for tough sanctions against states caught fielding over-aged athletes at the ongoing National Youth Games (NYG).
Nwuche made the clarion call at the end of the weightlifting competition at the Package B of the Abuja National Stadium.
He said tough sanctions and penalties were the only solution in stopping the act of cheating, stating that it has been a major issue in Nigerian age-grade competitions.
Nwuche said the National Sports Commission, NSC, should sanction teams either by banning them for some years or by automatically losing the competition, alongside using the regular MRI test.
“People must learn to be fair. They must not win at all cost, and they should try and comply with the rules and regulations of any competition.
“There is no point fielding people who are over-age. But now that we have the MRI test that can easily tell how old someone is, maybe we will see changes.
“That is what we saw on Sunday during a football match between Oyo state and their counterparts from Abia state.
“Abia had to play with 10 players against Oyo state’s 11 because one of their players was over-aged. So, if you field an over-age player, you should be penalised.
“People must learn to be honest because sports is not a do-or-die affair. The best way is to do a regular test to expose those who are over-age. But they must also have penalties for them.
“The NSC should put in place sanctions of either the team losing the game or being banned for a long time. That will help us to sanitise sports in Nigeria”, he said.