Delta State on Saturday maintained its winning streak, dusting other states of the Federation as the curtains drew on the 2023 National Youth Games (NYG) tagged “Asaba 2023” with a haul of 116 medals. With this victory on home soil, Delta State has won the games back-to-back for a record seven times since inception in 2013 when it was first hosted by Abuja, while Ilorin hosted the last five editions.
Team Delta bagged 51 gold, 34 silver, and 31 bronze medals to beat Lagos State to a second position with 61 medals comprising 21 gold, 19 silver, and 21 bronze, while Edo State came third with 21 gold, 15 silver, and 17 bronze medals.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the games held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori congratulated the winning team and other participating teams for their efforts.
Represented by Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Kingsley Emu, the governor thanked the organisers for their hard work which led to the success of the games.
Oborevwori stated “After seven days of intense sports competition, rivalries, and pomp and pageantry, the curtain draws on the 7th National Youth Games today. New champions have emerged, new talents discovered, and new heights have been attained by the participants and organisers.
“I congratulate the winners and all the participants. In the last week, we watched with admiration as you dazzled us with your talents and abilities, the will to win, and the spirit of excellence. Every one of you did your best to win and I commend your drive and determination to succeed. But as is the case in sports, not everybody will climb the medals table.
“Those of you who did not win a medal can hold your head high that you competed with the heart of a champion and showed us a great deal of promise. Thank you for the exciting moments you gave us. We are proud of you. As you all return to your various states, I trust that you will apply the lessons you have learned from this competition to your daily lives.
“These are the importance of preparation, the benefits of discipline, the power of focus, the essence of teamwork, the joy of winning, and the spirit of sportsmanship. These are principles that enable you to win, not just on the field, but also in life. I urge you to resist the temptation to be complacent, and continue to strive for greatness on and off the field”.
Commending the organisers – the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, Delta State Sports Commission, and the Local Organising Committee – for their contributions to the development of sports in the country, Governor Oborevwori also thanked them for the excellence and remarkable tenacity displayed in organising the event, adding that “You made us proud and may the good Lord continue to strengthen you for the work you are doing”.
In the same vein, he expressed gratitude to the coaches and officials, security personnel, protocol and welfare teams, as well as all the volunteers who gave their time, energy, and resources to make the event an astounding success.
Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Enoh, represented by Acting Director of Grassroots Sports Development, Patrick Okeke, commended the Delta State government for being a worthy partner in sports development. Okeke said the National Youth Games continued meeting expectations each year, noting that participating athletes had gone ahead to win laurels for the country over the years.
The Minister said the games contributed to the growth of the state’s economy with the creation of direct and indirect jobs in the sports value chain. While stating that the Ministry was open to partnerships that would further improve sports development in the country, Okeke disclosed that over 400 athletes have been identified across the participating states at the games.
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