By Betty Akota
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development Mr. Sunday Dare who received the Gymnasts of the TIG Gymnastic Club with their coach and parents Tuesday in Abuja, said the advantages of starting early for the young gymnasts who are between the ages of 3-12, is numerous.
In his welcome address, the Minister said he was fascinated by the skills and discipline they displayed the first time he watched them.
“When you see kids at this tender age do this, they flourish because they are disciplined from age 3, 4, 5 and when you see these kids, beyond sports, you know that there is hope for this country.
“Sports brings discipline and confidence and it going to grow with them as they grow,” he added.
The Minister thanked the parents for devoting their time and resources into the development of the young gymnasts as he said, “beyond what it would do for them at a personal in terms of their development both mental and physical, these ones are the future of this country because they will represent Nigeria not just at this level but up to the Olympic level. You are catching them young”.
The Minister also commended the coach Tony Asuquo and said what was being done with the kids was in tandem with one of the major focus of the Ministry in the area of Grassroot Sports Development. “For every sport be it football, table tennis, etc., unless you start at this level, working with these talents, developing them and taking them to trials and competitions, you can not have what you need.”
He also harped on the need for sports and education to go hand in hand and promised to ensure that some of the Gymnasts benefit from the Ministry’s scholarship program.
The coach of the Gymnasts Tony Asuquo who spoke earlier, thanked the Minister for his audience while letting the Minister and his team in on the various medals the Gymnasts had won in the past. They also put up a little display to the admiration of the Minister and those present.