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Igali rolls out plans for sports development in Bayelsa

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Bayelsa State’s Commissioner of Sports and Youth Development, Daniel Igali, has disclosed plans to revive the citizen’s interest in sports. This, he said, he would do by ensuring the youths have access to facilities and making the sector attractive once again.

Igali was, last month, appointed among 24 other commissioners by Governor Douye Diri, with a responsibility to see their new posts as a service to the people of the state.

Speaking to The Guardian, last week, Igali said the problem of sports growth in the state was just like the ones seen in other parts of the country, adding that the Bayelsa sports ministry would revive the people’s interest in sports through the introduction of incentives to encourage athletes’ development, among others.

“The problems of sports in Bayelsa are mostly linked with lack of funds for sporting activities. But sometimes, it can also be due to lack of qualified personnel, motivation for athletes.

“I intend to deal with the issues surrounding sports head-on. Governor Diri was a former commissioner of Youth and Sports Development in Bayelsa. He has a lot of passion for sports and I am hoping that there will be enough support to drive his agenda in sports.

“Once that is tackled, we will begin with the athletes development programme. We will take our sports academy as a model, where we have kids of between the ages of 10 and 11 admitted. And there, we have almost 300 Junior Secondary School Three students. At least, we have a bunch of talents in the academy across various sports.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that we nurture talents in the academy by providing some of the best facilities, and by also making available to them knowledgeable coaches and a stable environment for them to perform,” he said.

The former world wrestling revealed that he plans to create a healthy rivalry among the coaches to task them into discovering and nurturing fresh talents, adding, “We have instituted the athlete and coach of the month awards.

“The best coach award will be for the one who brings in innovation to coaching, passion and someone who wins medals. And not just winning medals, but who can bring in young talents to be groomed in the programmes.

“We are looking at different things that we feel will bring renewed hope and inspiration to our athletes, coaches and even our staff. We will reward the staff of the ministry adjudged as the best committed to the course of the ministry. And this award, which will hold in every quarter of the year, will be received from the commissioner of sports. We have things in place we hope will galvanise a renewed interest in sports building in Bayelsa.”

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