The Executive Chairman of the Kwara State Sports Commission, Mallam Bola Mogaji has joined the growing list of administrators that faulted the screening of athletes, ahead of the ongoing National Youth Games, at the University of Ilorin.
It would be recalled that the bar for participating athletes was brought down to U-15 after the 4th edition, but the exercise has since been riddled with controversy, as there has been no clear cut measure for the exercise, leading to series of manipulations.
After the screening on Thursday, which ended in controversy, the processes were re-taken on Friday, where series on manipulations were allowed to undervalue the exercise, which is classified as the most important aspect of the Games.
Speaking with journalists today at the venue of the Games, Mallam Bola Mogaji described the exercise as very bad, as the called on the organisers to allow each Sports Federation to handle the screening of their athletes.
“The screening exercise was very bad. I saw some athletes that were allowed to participate, and it’s obvious that they far above 15 years. It’s unbelievable”, he said.
“I would have advised that each Federation do their own screening, because they know their athletes better, and they have their data. Even the athletes know themselves too.
Mallam Mogaji gave example of the measures put in place in Kwara State Squash Association, in which they have data base for the players, which can be assessed anywhere and everywhere.
“In badminton for instance, some players were disqualified from taking part in an U-17 competition recently in Lagos for been over-aged, but have been screened in to participate in the National Youth Games, which is for athletes U-15 and below.
“But if the had been allowed to do the screening, that wouldn’t have happened.
However, the Acting Director, Grassroots Sports Development, Alhaji Bode Durotoye has re-affirmed his earlier resolve that screening will continue till the end of the Games, and that any athletes adjudged to be above 15 will be removed, the coach and his or her state sanctioned.