Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to developing young athletes to become world record holders.
Obaseki disclosed this while playing host to three former Nigerian athletes and Olympians, who were on a courtesy visit at the Government House, in Benin City.
The Olympians, Dr. Godwin Obasogie (hurdles – 100m), Dr. Bruce Ijirigho (100m) and Charlton Ehizuelen (long jump) were in company with the Chairman of Edo State Sports Commission, Yusuf Ali, a former African champion.
Speaking on the sports development policy of the state government, Obaseki said the focus was on discovering young athletes through the school sports programme, adding that it would create opportunities for young people in the state to nurture their talents to stardom.
While commending the Olympians for their exploits during their active days, Obaseki said the government was honoured to have them in the state and would be glad to leverage on their heroics to promote its sports development programme.
Obaseki said, “We are growing a new generation of young athletes who will be like you, as our policy is based on catching them young and we would like to use the opportunity of having you in our state to let the new generation know what you have achieved in the past, so that you let your own stories inspire and motivate our young generation, as we need to create alternative voices and for people to know that you have done it in the past and that you are our heroes.”
Obaseki also said that the retired athletes would be made patrons of some of the sports associations in the state.
The Governor endorsed the proposal of having the class of 1971 athletes team reunion in December and the inaugural edition of the Edo/Delta State Annual Competition for secondary schools to be staged next year on a rotational basis between Edo and Delta states governments, presented by the trio.
In their response, the Olympians commended the Governor for his exceptional commitment to developing sports infrastructure in the state.
Hailing the revamp of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and other infrastructure in the state, Obasogie said, “The Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium is world-class and has standard facilities that can be compared to anywhere in the world. The facilities are excellent.”