Nigeria is sending 115 athletes to compete at the 2014 African Youth Games (AYG) which is scheduled to begin from 22nd to 31st May in Gaborone, capital city of Botswana.
This number represents a significant increase in the 68 number of athletes the country sent to the first edition of the games which held in Rabat, Morocco in 2010 who won only 10 medals for the country.
The 115 athletes are expected to participate in 16 sports namely; Athletics, Badminton, Taekwondo, Boxing, Rowling, Canoeing, Golf, Judo, Karate, Table Tennis, Tennis, Weightlifting, Cycling, Swimming, Volleyball and Football.
Speaking to the contingent shortly before their departure on Tuesday morning in Abuja, the Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr. Tammy Danagogo charged them to be worthy Ambassadors and sustain the level of patriotism and zeal which they had displayed throughout the training season in order to bring glory to the country.
“As Ambassadors of your country, your responsibility is enormous as the hopes of 170 million Nigerians are upon you” said the Minister.
“As Ambassadors, the expectations are high, the image of the country rest upon your shoulders not only to double the feat at the inaugural edition but also to represent the nation fairly by shunning youthful vices capable of disparaging the country’s image.”
Danagogo further said the AYG is a spring board to the Youths Olympic slated for China later in the year, giving the assurance that any athletes that performs well in this games will automatically represent the country in China and will be rewarded by the President.
Speaking on behalf of the athletes, Andong Essien, captain of Team Nigeria promised that they would be good Ambassadors and come home with lots of laurels.
The African Youth Games is an international multi-sport event held every four years to complement the current All-Africa Games.
The 2014 games is the 2nd edition of the African Youth Games. 2, 500 athletes from 54 countries are expected to compete in the games.