By Our Correspondent
The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has urged State Governments and Local Government Areas to prioritise sports and youths’ development in order to curb unemployment, criminality and other social vices. It also advocated that state and local government should invest in the discovery of hidden sporting potentials by organising Intra-State and other Mini Sports Competitions.
SWAN gave the charge in a communique issued at the end of 2023 National Convention held at Cyson Hotel, Asaba, Delta State During 7th National Youth Games (NYG) on Friday.
The National Convention which was chaired by the SWAN President, Mr. Isaiah Kemje Benjamin, was declared open by the Minister of Sports development Sen. John Owan Enoh who was represented by the Director Press Federal Ministry of Sports Development, Mr. Mohammed Manga FCAI.
In the communique made available to Core Reporters, SWAN commended Delta State Government under the leadership of Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori for hosting a successful NYG.
According to the communique, “The Convention observed with concern, issues/incidences of age cheat in NYG which affected the objectives of the game negatively.
“SWAN called for review of awarding medals and monetary rewards to winners which is largely responsible for the desperation by the state and their coaches for winning by any and every means.
“We are calling for the establishment of a High Performance Centre and or review of such existing facility to take care of nurturing of discovered athletes.
“SWAN called for a better and more coordinated accreditation process for journalists in future editions of the games for proper logistics planning”
SWAN called for a more effective and efficient preparation of medals table for easily available and accessible medal positions. It further recommended the establishment of an ICT unit and involvement of SWAN members in compilation of tables.
Also, SWAN called for prompt release and update of results at the event venues.
SWAN recommended that the Federal Government should harvest discovered athletes at NYG and groom them for sustenance of their progress. While calling for a more objective officiating by umpires to forestall future displeasure by competing and not to demoralise genuine competitors.
SWAN also called for hybrid screening process with biometrics and NIN as against facial screening
“The Convention commended the Delta State Government for good hosting and called for a better planning for the media in areas of accommodation and transport to games venues.
“SWAN commended Delta State for medical response but called for a more robust medical corps to ensure there are medical teams at all venues and reduction in response time for emergencies.
“SWAN enjoined the organisers to impress on coaches to only field athletes that are U-15 at NYG.
“The convention commended Delta State for being a lover of sports, a gesture that propelled the state to host various sporting activities, with Zenith Basketball billed for the state in a few days time, while calling on the Federal Government to make more funds available for sponsorship of national competitions to ease the burden of host states.
“The convention said poaching of athletes ahead of national competitions should be discouraged.and and called on states to shun quick win mentality but take time to prepare their athletes for competitions.
“SWAN noted with dismay the poor kitting of athletes by States and advised that they should ensure that their athletes are properly kitted including the use of spike shoes.
“SWAN commended all NYG host states past and present including Kano, FCT, Kwara and Delta for supporting the growth of the games.
“The convention noted the need for Sports Journalists to improve their skills and deepen their knowledge of various sports for effective discharge of their duties.
“The Convention congratulated Mr. Isaiah Kemje Benjamin, on his election as President of SWAN as well as other elected officials of the Association at 2023 Trianial Delegate Conference held in Omoku, Rivers State, .
“SWAN lauded its National leadership for exemplary and dogged manner it has piloted the affairs of the professional body so far.”
Members of the communique drafting committee include, Chimezie Anaso (Chairman), Jacob Onjewu Dickson (Member) and Eche Amos as the Secretary.