As reactions continued to trail the not too impressive performance of Team Oyo at the recently concluded National Youth Games in Asaba, the Chairman of Oyo State Athletics Association, Dr Isaac Friday Ogada has stated that the state athletes participated in the competition to gather experience.
Oyo State, which used to be one of the nation’s power houses in athletics, did not win a single medal in the sport at just concluded in Asaba.
Dr Isaac Friday Ogada while featuring on the BCOS TV’s flagship sports program Saturday Breakfast Sports with Boluwaji Ogunmola, however played down the state performance at the Games saying that his association didn’t go to Asaba for medal haul but to groom the newly discovered talents for the future.
He said: “When I assumed office as Chairman in 2017, I made it clear that grassroot development was the only way to keep the momentum of progress going where they participated in several local competitions. And in 2019, Oyo State recorded her best performance in the history of the Youth Games where we won seven medals including gold and silver medals in the 100m finals.”
The Chairman said that following the success of the athletes in 2019, a substantial number of the athletes were invited to the national team camp while several others gained scholarships outside of the country and this informed the decision to groom a new set of athletes this year.
In his words: “I met with the coaches before the games told them that the aim of participating should not be just about winning but nurturing new set of young athletes so that in the next few years they will become superstars. We are glad that we fulfilled our aim as all our athletes made it to the finals in Asaba”
Ogada said the search for new talents took them to all the zones of the state after which camping took place in Ibadan where the discovered talents passed through competition try-outs which produced those who represented the state in Asaba.
He reteirated that the athletes from Oyo State were the youngest in the Athletics event of the 2023 National Youth Games.
Speaking further on the live television sports show, the Oyo State Athletics Association Chairman disclosed that he has adopted most of the new athletes discovered in recent trials.
Ogada said: “I adopted about 90% of the new athletes, I gave scholarships and accommodation. They are now schooling and gotten all the materials needed for them to train properly.”
Dr. Isaac Ogada went on to appreciate the coaches for their resourcefulness adding that their efforts made the young talents get to the final in the various track events in Asaba.
Dr. Ogada then predicted that Oyo State will be the state to beat in the next three editions of the National Youth Games