AZUKA CHIEMEKA in this Special report, highlights the enormous benefits of hosting the National Youth Games (NYG) in Delta State.
Between September 23rd and September 30th hundreds of youths from all over the country will converge on Asaba, the Delta State capital for the 7th edition of the national youth games.
The multi-sports event was conceived by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, through the National Sports Commission (NSC) and was first held in the main bowl of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja in 2013.
The National Youth Games was designed for athletes below the age of 17 years with the aim of serving as a hunting ground to pick budding athletes while at the same time enhancing the unity of Nigerians across the thirty six states and Abuja, but later it became strictly for those under 15 years.
The 2023 edition of the youth sports competition will be the first time Delta State will be hosting it, though the state hosted the National Sports Festival (NSF) in 2022.
Stakeholders have already given Delta State the thumbs up explaining that a major multi-sports event like the Youth Games has the potentials of building enthusiasm and excitement among citizens.
The one week tournament of various sporting events, will certainly promote peace, unity and development as citizens of the state and visiting contingents will put away whatever their political differences may be, when they start supporting athletes.
Other benefits for hosting the games will include the Foreign Direct Investment inflows, job creation, enhancement of the hospitality, transport and tourism industries, as well as improvement of sports and other related Infrastructure.
The joy, happiness and emotional satisfaction likely to result from state teams participating in the games will bring about social cohesion while also enhancing productivity thereby boosting the state’s GDP.
The image of the city or cities used for hosting the games gets enhanced globally.
It is also expected that as host, Delta will benefit from skills and knowledge transfer in ICT, marketing, broadcasting and hospitality.
As the youths file out for their various sporting events, no doubt, a lot of younger ones who will grace the games will see the attraction of sports and key into it.
What is obvious is that despite the financial implications for hosting the Youth Games, Delta State will be a lot more richer for the positive image, the economic opportunities, as well as young talents who will emerge as Nigerians shake hands, and collect medals in Asaba.
Azuka Chiemeka is the Vice President South South, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN).