By Victor Okoye
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, says the ministry is committed to developing sports at the grassroots through the continued organisation of the One Service One Medal (OSOM) Games.
Dare said this at the opening ceremony of the 2020 OSOM Games at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 740 athletes are taking part in the event which is the fourth edition of the OSOM Games.
The Ministry of Sports approved the staging of the games in Abuja over a four-day period, with 15 events to be competed for by members of the Armed Forces and the paramilitary.
This was after several postponements occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Events to be competed for include athletics, swimming, taekwondo, weightlifting, Tug-of-War, beach volleyball, boxing, chess, squash, scrabble.
Others are golf,, tennis, shooting, table tennis and badminton.
The Minister of Sports who was represented by Nebeolisa Anako, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary,, said that the organisation of the annual event was one of the ministry’s grassroots sports development objectives.
“I am glad to inform you that through the organisation of the annual OSOM Games, the Ministry is actively achieving its mandate of creating a pool of potential athletes that can continuously represent the country in international competitions.
“I have been informed that over 740 athletes and officials have been accredited to participate in this year’s games.
“With the collaboration of all relevant stakeholders, I strongly believe that the objectives of this games will be achieved in many respects,” he said.
Dare noted that the concept of the Games was for each Service to produce a star athlete that would win one medal at major international competitions/Games.
This was to be based on past records of the country’s podium performances at such international competitions.
“The OSOM Games was strategically designed by the Ministry in collaboration with the Military and Para-Military Agencies in Nigeria after the London 2012 Olympics to help sports development among them.
“This year’s edition of the Games is unique in many respects, as it falls within the Olympic year, whereby as a nation we will tap into the euphoria and excitements to produce the best that will represent and do us proud.
“I have no doubt in my mind that the quality of athletes present here today are capable of making our country proud anytime, anywhere,” he said.
NAN also reports that part of events to mark the opening ceremony was a march past by the various agencies, bike riders display by the Police Force, Tug-of-war, horse riding as well as oath taking by a representative of the athletes and officials.
Isaac Ogbole from FRSC represented the athletes, while Agnes Itam from the Nigeria Police Force took the oath on behalf of all the officials.
The Games which kicked off on Wednesday is expected to climax with the closing ceremony on Saturday. (NAN)