When we say “you have to play the game to coach/run the game” some people feel it’s just a slogan and that once you are an administrator, you can run sports even without knowing it.
Last week, the Minister of Sports cum Chairman National Sports Commission Malllam Bolaji Abdulahi announced that athletes and teams will not get medals at the National Youth Games, which has been scheduled to hold from December 5th-15th in Abuja.
His reason: to discourage cheating. Gracious me, are we for real? Do our administrators feel they are daddies and we are kindergarten children? Well sir, this is akin to not marking the exam scripts so that students don’t cheat. How myopic. I understand the minister has no sports background. I understand he was a mainstream reporter for a national daily before being made special adviser to the Kwara state governor. I understand that he was appointed commissioner (Not Sports)in Kwara. I also understand that he had no idea of sports except as a football fan till he became a Minister and was told to learn on the job. But please, someone tell me, doesn’t he have advisers? Didn’t anyone tell him that even in nursery schools, pupils run for a prize? That sport is all about competition and competition is all about classification? Didn’t anyone tell him the pride an athlete feels with a medal around his neck? Didn’t anyone tell him that vigilance and good administration will prevent cheating not punishing future champions? Didn’t anyone tell him that even at the Olympics, everyone gets certificate of participation, but still winners get medals?
Please I need to know, how do we get the best talents from the Youth Games when they are told competing is not necessary?
Perhaps, if only the Minister had experienced what it is to compete as a sportsman, he would understand the value and pride
of a medal.