Delta State have emerged winners of the 2017 National Youth Games, which ended in Ilorin on Saturday.
Team Delta won 21 gold, 16 silver and 23 bronze medals to retain the title they won in 2016. Akwa Ibom State with 16 gold, 15 silver and 15 bronze were second, while Ondo State came thirs with 12 gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze.
Jigawa, Taraba and Yobe states occupied the bottom of the medal table after they failed to win a medal at the event.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, said 2,934 athletes competed in 135 events at the Youth Games.
He said the increased number of athletes over-stretched the facilities at the University of Ilorin, the venue of the event.
He spoke during the closing ceremony of the NYG tagged UNILORIN 2017, which held in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
The minister commended the management and officials of UNILORIN for hosting the three editions of the NYG.
He also lauded the Kwara State Government and the Ilorin Golf Club for granting the ministry free access to use their facilities and called for more collaboration.
He noted that there was increase in the number of sports from 15 at the last edition to 28 at the 2017 edition.
He stated that maximum age of athletes would be pegged at 15 during the fourth edition to achieve the long-term objectives of the NYG.
Dalung said, “I congratulate the athletes and officials from the 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory that participated in this year’s games.
“It is worthy of note that all the states and the FCT registered at this Games, except Zamfara State. Of the 35 states and the FCT that registered, only Lagos State failed to present athletes.
“I therefore wish to sincerely thank the various state governments that sponsored their teams to the Games at these austere times.”
The minister added that the NYG provided an avenue to bring the youths together under an atmosphere of friendly competition designed to enhance their potential and all-round development.
He enjoined all the athletes and their coaches to build on their performances at the Games to become worthy champions in the future.
He said the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports was working assiduously to improve on the standard of the Youth Games.
He stated that specifically the number of events would be streamlined to reduce the burden of hosting.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari, according to him, for his avowed commitment to the development of youth and sports in Nigeria.
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