By Femi Atolagbe
An Ondo born former Olympic bronze medalist , Abayo Agunbiade has urged government at all levels to discover young talents through sports competitions.
Agunbiade who stated this during an interview with The Sporting Hope, said “competition is the only means to discover new talents and nurture them to become word class” .
The former All African game silver winner added that, ” lack of competitions will discourage our young athletes and make them indolent, saying competition will motivate them.
He explained further that , through competitions, new athletes will be discovered, nurtured and become useful to themselves and the state .
“As a young sprinter then, I was discovered through under age competitions because I always won prizes in any competition I participated in. Whenever I showed what I won to my parents, they would pray for me and encouraged me to do more That was what encouraged me then and here I am today”
“I’m a product of grassroot sports development and I have represented Nigeria in many competitions like the Olympic games, Commonwealth games, All African games and I won medals for the country and my home State”, he added.
Agunbiade noted that there were many hidden talents in the country and through the reintroduction of under 13, 14, 16 and 18 competitions like we used to have in the past, we could discover these talents.
“We can go back to those glorious days , where there will be inter-schools competition, inter-tates competition and all that . Through these means, we will discover, catch them young and develop them to become future stars”
“Failure to be organising competitions for the upcoming athletes will be affecting them negatively and it will subject our sports to further depletion in the state and we will continue to lose our best to neighbouring States and other Countries .
“Through sports, government can curb all these insecurity menace in our society by investing more in sports, when you use Sports to engage the youth , you have already shifted their minds from anti vices, an idle hand a devil workshop they say.
He noted that our government should give more to sports in order to revive the dying sports in the Country. ” Thanks to the current Minister for sports that organized National Sports Festival six years after it was held in Lagos”, he added.
“Although Sports development can not be left in the hand of government alone, let the corporate bodies and some rich individuals join hands with the government for sports development in the state and in the country at large”, he stated.