Gbemisola Yusuf of Ondo State took part in women weightlifting at the Eko 2012 National Sports Festival. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI.
Stakeholders in the sport industry have urged the Federal Government and private sectors to invest tremendously in grassroots sport for impactful development.
They made this assertion at the weekend during the South West Weightlifting Sport Summit in Akure, declaring that the approaches of the Federal Government will only worsen sport activities in the country.
The Chairman of Ondo State Weightlifting Association, Ambassador Sylvester Ikuejamoye, said government need to get involved in discovery of talents at the grassroots.
Ikuejamoye, who is also the Coordinator of Weightlifting Federation of Nigeria in the South West, lamented that there was no replacement for most of the athletes, who he disclosed are now ageing.
He added that Nigeria needed to identity her area of strength and develop talents to be more competitive at the major tournaments.
“We need to catch them young, that is what the likes of UK, USA,Tanzania and Kenya always do to win medals at major tournaments,” he said, soliciting for more private body’s participation in sport development in the country.
“No government can sponsor sports hundred per cent, private sectors are interested,but they want to make sure the money does not go down the drain,but well spent,” he added.
Similarly, the Vice President of Continental African Sports Management Association, Prof. Oluwaseun Omotayo, lamented that sports ministry had reduced and restricted sports to when there was competition.
Omotayo, who said the country must have template for sport development and return to the grassroots, advocated that sports development should be returned to local governments, where athletes could still be manipulated and developed in terms of training and funding.