It would be safe to describe the 6th National Youth Games held at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, as the best outing for Team Nasarawa since Games’ inception in 2013.
Participating at the 2021 edition of the Games, Team Nasarawa won a total of seven medals, comprising three Gold, three silver and one Bronze.
Christabel Daniel, once again, inked her name in the Games’ history books after winning Gold Medal in the Girls’ +47kg Karate event, overpowering her Anambra State counterpart Akuma Onyinye, for the precious medal, a great improvement from the 2019 edition where she won a Silver Medal.
Christabel’s achievement was immediately followed by Emmanuel Kasimu Esson who won Gold in the -33kg Taekwondo Boys’ category.
The State’s Boys’ Hockey Team also towed the same path, winning Gold Medal at the expense of their northern neighbours, Kaduna State.
In the Silver Medal category, Mildred Monday Tukura narrowly fell behind her Oyo State counterpart, Monsurat Akerere, in the final of the Girls’ -59kg category in Taekwondo.
The duo of Victor Omeji and Jesse Kyauta battled for the Gold Medal in Dart but ended up settling for the Silver Medal after losing to their Delta State opponents, Fidelis Egwuoba and Vincent Ashanti.
Chinenye Agbo gallantly lost to her Rivers State’s counterpart, Cynthia Philip, in the Girls’ -48kg Kung-Fu Sansho category.
Doowuese Towpo, however, recapped the medals’ haul for Team Nasarawa, winning Bronze in Ayo trado-sport.
Responding to questions from journalists during the closing ceremony, Permanent Secretary, Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Aminu Ibrahim Shammah, congratulated the State’s contingent for the milestone achievements recorded at the Games.
“I feel extremely satisfied with the performance of our athletes at the Youth Games, and I think everyone back home feels the same way.
“I was recently posted to the Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, and this happens to be my first official outing with the State’s contingent, and winning all those medals is an indication of better things to come in the future”, he began.
The erudite Permanent Secretary, nonetheless, suggested thus to organizers of the Youth Games;
“For the sake of future events, organizers of the Youth Games should endeavour to assemble the athletes at locations not far from the event venues in order to conserve the energy of the athletes and protect them from external factors.”
He added that the Governor Sule Administration is working round the clock to improve on existing sporting infrastructures in the State while building new ones in tandem with international best practices, revealing that it won’t be out of place for Nasarawa State to bid for hosting rights of future national sport events.
“We have started preparing for next year’s National Sports Festival billed for Asaba, Delta State, and God willing, we should emerge among the best three States at the end of the fiesta.
“Once our infrastructures are completed, we should be bidding to host national or international sporting events, even though we have hosted some zonal and national championships in the State before.”
Team Nasarawa featuring in thirteen individual sports and one team sport event emerged overall 14th position on the medals’ table, a result far better than their previous record in 2019 where they won only one Silver medal.
The team came to the Youth Games with a total of 127 member contingent.
Team Delta emerged overall winners of this year’s Youth Games, scooping a total of 114 Medals, comprising sixty Gold, twenty-six Silver and Twenty-eight Bronze medals.
They are followed by Team Lagos with 19 Gold, 25 Silver and 28 Bronze medals while Team Edo are 3rd with 18 Gold, 10 Silver and 12 Bronze medals.
Only Kwara State(6th), F.C.T. Abuja(7th), Plateau State(12th) and Kaduna(13th) are placed higher than Team Nasarawa among States from Northern Nigeria.
Thirty-four States and the F.C.T, Abuja, featuring in 34 sporting events, partook at the event, while Enugu and Gombe States failed to show up.
Kano State will host the next edition of the Youth Games in 2022.