Former Nigerian international and Director General of the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI), Olajide Fashikun, has challenged the young athletes who will be participating at the 19th National Sports festival to strive well to excel in their chosen sport as well as their education.
According to Fashikun, “we have started preparations for the 2024 Olympics. As we speak now, we have worked out modalities to support athletes who are between 14 and 18 years to get sports scholarship in America as part of the structures to have enough athletes who can deliver the medals in the 2023 African Games in Ghana and the 2024 Olympics.
We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some Universities in America. We are using the African Youth Games in Algeria and the 19th National Sports festival to compile a list of very young athletes we can support for this mid-term project. Of these population of young athletes, we had shortlisted 30 athletes in seven sports who will enjoy a six-year grant to help them mature.
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According to the former El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri and Zamalek SC of Egypt star, “none of our athletes will be propped if they do not have education to back their sports. For those who have graduated from secondary school and have very good results, they can approach us to enjoy the opportunities. They don’t have to be from rich homes. It is their talent and educational qualification that will give them this unique opportunity.”
Fashikun added, “every sport in the Olympics will be involved. Two, our focus is more on the individual sports and team sports. All you need is being straight. We don’t want any age-falsification. Have your credits and be good in your sport. We shall join you to Olympic heights. Our eyes are on 2024 Olympics.”