No fewer than 360 athletes and officials are participating in the third edition of One Service One Medal (OSOM) Games which kicked off on Sunday in Kaduna.
However, some Stakeholders have questioned the organisational structure of the event which is meant for just two days.
Director Grassroots Sports Development, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Dr. Ademola Are, disclosed this, while briefing newsmen at the Media Centre of the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna on Sunday.
He said that OSOM Games, which will take place for the next five days at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium and Murtala Mohammed Square, was introduced by the Ministry to hunt for talents because the military and paramilitary have been a source of podium success in the past for the country.
“That was why the ministry sought synergy to tap into available talents from the service personnel. We have been having challenges, but with our zeal, we are ensuring the Games does not die, the economic situation not withstanding,” he added.
Dr. Are explained that they will be participating in seven sports, including the traditional tug of war, football, athletics, karate, shooting, table tennis and tennis and all will be medal winning. “Karate has commenced this morning and has been concluded,” he added.
Responding to questions, on the absence of some services from the games, he said that they were absent due to their participation in security operations across the country. “The personnel are overstretched so some apologized for not being able to participate as a result of being over stretched in security operations across the country,” he said.
Speaking further, he said that Nigeria cannot win medals if it doesn’t have a stream of athletes to take over from the present crop. “We have been discovering athletes and some of them have represented Nigeria internationally. To prepare an athlete, you require a minimum of N20 million. What we are spending on athletes is still peanuts. You can’t prepare an athlete for Olympics in four years,” he said.
The briefing was attended by the Zonal Secretary, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Alhaji AbdulRaheem Aodu, Deputy Director, Liaison Office Lagos, Alhaji Bode Durotoye, Zonal Coordinator North West, Mr. Luke Olusola.