Minister of Sports and Youth development, Solomon Dalung has expressed disappointment with the school of thought that Nigeria performed abysmally at Rio 2016 Olympics games in Brazil.
Dalung said this on Saturday in Ilorin while declaring open the 2nd edition of National Youth Games.
He said comments describing Rio 2016 Olympics as abysmal worried him as against the London 2012 which the country failed to win a single medal.
He said Nigeria set a unique record with Aruna Quadri being the first African to qualify for the Quarter in male Table Tennis event and Chierika Ohaa, the first black athlete to reach the semi final Rowing
The minister added that the Nigerian contingent also won bronze medal in football event to place in the country on the medals table.
He said the National Youth Games have assumed a global status.
Dalung explained that the country must move with the trend of events in line with international best practices to develop our sports from the grassroots.
“Sports in Nigeria have grown and have contributed immensely to national unity.
“It has equally brought about a stronger binding spirit as well as the detribalisation of Nigeria” The Minister said.
Dalung recalled that the maiden edition of the games was held in Abuja in 2013 and produced talented athletes who represented at the 2014 African Youth Games held in Botswana and the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa winning laurels.
The Minister hoped that the second edition will follow in the same notable path of history by producing podium athletes in different sports.
He thanked President Muhammed Buhari for his magnanimity in granting approval for the hosting of this important games.
The minister urged athletes to see their role in this game as a stepping stone to greater height bearing in mind that there is joy in participation and winning.
He therefore, called on them to do their best in their respective areas.
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, who was represented by the commissioner for youth and Sports, Bolakale Ayo, commended the minister for sustaining the games which has become a platform for discovering talents.
Ahmed urged them not to relent in achieving success in there area of chosen sports.
He advised the young athletes not only focus on sports but extend such passion to their education.
Earlier in his address, the Vice Chancellor of University of Ilorin, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali, said sports is the only thing in life that have universal language and easy to speak.
He explained that it is an arena of unity for nation building adding that it has become one of the fastest growing industries in the today.
A total of 2645 athletes will competes in 14 events with 22 states participating.