By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
Squash players from Kwara state proved their superior metles to emerge winners in both singles and team events at the just concluded zonal Under-19 Secondary Schools Squash Championship for Boys and Girls which took place in Minna, Niger State capital.
Over thirty players from the seven states that make up the North Central zone, (Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa, Kwara, Plateau, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) Abuja) slugged it out for laurels.
Plateau state emerged second overall winner followed by the host, Niger State which placed 3rd in both team and single events.
Meanwhile, the Federal government has appealed to well placed Nigerians and corporate organizations to invest in sports development for the benefits of the teaming population of young men and women in the country.
Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Dalong said besides the development of the mental health of the young men and women, sports is now lucrative.
Dalong made the appeal at the closing ceremony of the Squash Championship where he presented medals and certificates to the winners of the U -19 zonal Secondary School Squash Competition.
Dalong who spoke through the zonal Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Dr. Patrick Uwagbare, noted that sports, particularly the game of Squash is more about building mental capabilities, good reflexes and accurate calculation of the players.
He commended the sponsor of the championship, Alhaji Adamu Erena, the Niger State Squash Association, the state Ministry of Youths and Sports Development and others who contributed to the development of sports in the zone.
The Minister enjoined other well placed Nigerians to emulate the sponsor just as he noted that government alone cannot develop sports.
The Sports Minister said the present administration in the country was interested in the well being of Nigerian youths who he noted are “the hope and the future of the country”.
Sponsor of the Championship and President, Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF), Adamu Erena said the two day championship was aimed at unmasking discovering budding talents that could be polished to become star Squash players that would represent Nigeria in Squash at world levels in the nearest future.
Erena who was recently elected Vice President, African Squash Federation (Africa North) in South Africa, expressed concern over the poor interest in the game of Squash by many wealthy individuals in the country.
He lamented that many wealthy Nigerians invest their monies on materialism rather than on human capacity building to guarantee sustainable future and for development of the individual citizens.
By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.