From Abel Leonard, Lafia
In preparation for the upcoming National Sports Festival (NSF) in Bayelsa in November, the Nasarawa State government under the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has organised a sensitisation workshop to lecture athletes on the danger of using performance-enhancing substances (doping)
Declaring the sensitisation programme opens on Thursday at the Abacha Youth Centre Lafia, Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Lucky Yargwa, appreciated the organisers of the programme even as it is coming at a time when Nigerians are still celebrating the performance of athletes who won medals for the country at the just concluded Commonwealth games in Birmingham city.
He said athletics welfare is his priority as he had promised when he assumed office as the commissioner that he would improve the take-home pay and other benefits entitled to them which he confirmed has been achieved.
On the facility for training, he reiterated his commitment to ensuring that the Lafia city stadium which is under renovation is complete in due time as he raised concern about the way the contractors are handling the project but promised to ensure that the project is completed.
He further said he would ensure that the coaches and everyone involved in the process of the renewal of their contract be treated fairly adding that the packages will not be tampered with.
“I can assure you as you sign new contract with the state ministry, your package will be improved and whatever that will make you perform we are ready to help you get them.”
He however, advised the athletes not to engage in any substance in-take as it has destroyed a lot of great athletes while urging them to pay attention to the lectures from the various resource persons.
On his part, Director, research and planning, Mr Ubba Musa stressed that it is the first the ministry is organising such a feat prior to a competition.
Ubba said the sensitisation programme will go along way in educating the athletes on the dangers of doping and how it could be avoided.
“This programme is the first of its kind in the ministry when it comes to competition participation as the ministry has many programmes but this one is very important as it will put the athletes in the know on the effect of drug intake.”
“It is not only for the athletes even for the coaches, that is why you see the coaches here. We want our athletes and coaches to be in the right frame of mind with the knowledge of the danger of using performance-enhancing substances.”
Speaking with one of the participants, Esther O Ashama, who competes in Judo, described the programme as a step in the right direction as it would help her to know the dangers of drug substances that are not used in sports.
“it has broadened my knowledge on substances that should not be taken whether consciously or unconsciously while performing in a competition.”
She added that such intake of hard drugs had jeopardised the career of many good athletes and thereby tarnishing the image of the state they represent which she said “would not want to be in that situation.”
Ibrahim Tanko Tukur, Lecturer at the Department of physical and Health Education, College of Education, Akwanga who is one of the resource person stated that there is a need for athletes to stay out of drugs towards sustaining their careers.
Delivering his lecture on the topic, Ergonomic Aids, Influence and Effects on Sports Performance Among Athletes. Urged the participants to take this opportunity to know the type of drugs prescribed when injured.