Sports minister pledges to revamp Kuru high altitude training centre, lauds Blueprint Award

Chairman Editorial Board Blueprint Newspapers Hajiya Zainab Suleiman Okino (3rd right) presenting a letter of award nomination as Sports Icon to Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare (middle) during a visit by the newspapers’ management team to the minister in Abuja Monday, while Managing  Clem Oluwole (3rd left), Editor Abdulrahman Abdulrauf (2nd right), Deputy General Manager Business and Strategy Durojaiye Hassan (2nd left), Head Admin and Human Resources Nuhu Sani (right) and Online Editor Ikenna Okonkwo watch    

The Minister of Youth and Sports development, Chief Sunday Dare, has revealed that the moribund High Altitude Training Centre, Kuru, near Jos, Plateau state, will soon be resuscitated just like other sports infrastructure development across  the country.

Dare spoke when he hosted the management staff of Blueprint Newspapers Monday in his Moshood Abiola National Stadium Office Abuja.

He also expressed his readiness to personally visit both the centre and another abandoned sports site at Mambilla Plateau in Taraba state, in few weeks’ time.

Chairman, Editorial Board of Blueprint Newspapers, Hajiya Zainab Okino, while highlighting some recent sports developmental strides of the federal government, announced that the minister was  carefully selected for Blueprint’s annual award due to his foresight and result-oriented initiatives.

“Despite the non-qualification of Super Eagles to this year’s World Cup, we are aware of how the recent adopt-an-athlete and pitch initiative have brought back life to Nigerian sports.
“Within the past 10 years, Nigeria has struggled to win a medal during a global competition like Olympics. However, Nigeria won two medals during the 2020 Olympics held last year in Tokyo, Japan. We have also noted other grassroots developmental efforts and improved sports performances in recent times,” she said.

Within the past two years, various sports facilities including the Moshood Abiola Stadium Abuja, National Stadiums Lagos and Ibadan owned and managed by the federal government, were being rehabilitated.
Already, the rehabilitation work at the Abuja stadium had been completed and deployed to use while works were on at Lagos and Ibadan in line with adopt-a-pitch initiative of the minister.

Dare, however, told the visiting veteran media practitioners that the exploits witnessed in Nigeria’s sports was traceable to President Muhammadu Buhari’s unrelenting effort in youth development.

He said before now, sports and youth development had meagre  budget allocation, and that it had been increased to N6billion annually, aside N75billion and N148 billion intervention funds.
“The federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari has been consistent in Youth and Sports development issues. There have been tremendous changes unlike what was obtainable in the past.

“There has never been a time in history that Youths got so much support and opportunities to thrive like it is under the current administration,” he said.
Expressing appreciation to the newspapers’ management for the recognition, he said: “I want to thank Blueprint. This is a surprise, I never really expected it… We have seen Blueprint grow in weight over the years. Before Blueprint came, I know quite a number of newspapers not just in the north but across the line, setting up that can never survived, but for Blueprint to have survived this long and keep thriving, it shows that the management and the editorial team which you have is not just coercive but also talented and committed.

“And having this nomination from a paper of this reputation, I think for me, it’s a joy. But also, apart from serving as validation of efforts we have  tried to make inch by inch, the recognition serves as a tonic to even do more, at least in such a way that we can put in place sustainable model, that whoever comes in next can continue in that direction.

“Today (Monday), it’s significant, because of this nomination, this morning before you came, we received the Flying Eagles, who for the first time won the WAFU Cup and as well qualified this country for the upcoming U20 Nations Cup. Young stars who have the future of our football development, we are happy to receive them.”
Also speaking, Managing Editor Blueprint Newspapers Clem Oluwole reminded the minister who had lived in Jos, of the need to remain steadfast and also revive the sports high altitude centre in Kuru, Jos.

Also in his remarks, the Daily Editor, Abdulrahman Abdulrauf, said but for recent developmental efforts, youth and sports development at the grassroots were nose diving.

“Looking at the security challenges we are facing today, it is because sports at the grassroots were abandoned. In those days, you would always see youths playing football under the bridge. It is the ‘bridge boys’ that are causing all this unrest now. I believe when you focus more on grassroots development, the security challenges will obviously reduce,” he said.

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