National Youth Games: Heritage Bank Receives Commendation Over Sponsorship

By Eric Eghaghe

A cross section of athletes and officials that took part in the recently concluded inaugural edition of the National Youth Games have heaped praises and commendation on Heritage Bank for being a major sponsor of the week long competition.

The National Youth Games was conceived as a platform for identifying, discovering and harnessing sporting talents below age of 17 years and nurturing them to great world class performers.

Heritage Bank was a major sponsor of the inaugural edition of the Games which held between December 6 and 15 in Abuja, FCT. A total of 2917 athletes whose age was below 17 years from 31 States and FCT took part in the fiesta which, according to the Sports Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Bolaji Abdulahi, produced over 370 special talents in 14 different sports.

According to the Group Head, Special Businesses & Projects, Heritage Bank, Isa Sadiq, the Bank's sponsorship of the National Youth Games represented a strong statement of its commitment to the development and preservation of positive national ethos, values and image.

“Nigerians are sports loving people with very high appetite for winning. Consequently, Sport has become an important aspect of the Nigerian culture. That is why Heritage Bank has continued to support various sports activities from golf to badminton and now, the National Youth Games”, she explained.

The Chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the games, Alhassan Yakmut, praised the enthusiasm and skills of the young athletes as well as the support of the sponsors towards the hoisting of a truly successful inaugural edition of the Games.

According to Yakmut, “This project and the huge success recorded in this maiden edition have confirmed that our country has a bright future in global sports. The enthusiasm and astounding skills displayed by the athletes as well as the support backbone provided by the sponsors assure us that we have started a revolutionary concept in talents discovery”.

Miss Faith Okwonna, the Anambra State Director of Sports Services, commended the organizers and sponsors of the games. According to her, “Kudos to Heritage Bank, which I understand, is a major sponsor of this competition. It will go a long way in producing more sports men and women for the country”.

The Anambra Director of Sports, whose state featured no fewer than 150 athletes, who participated in 10 sporting events, called on all major organisations in the country to rally round the Games.

“Youth development is key to sustainable national peace, security and productivity. All organisations operating in the country have a strong role to play to ensure the National Youth Games idea is sustained”, she noted

The General Manager of the Ondo State Sports Commission, Mrs. Idowu Akinbulumo, commended the National Sports Commission for setting up the National Youth Games as well as sponsors like Heritage Bank, for buying into the project.

She said the games, which was designed to balance sports, culture and education among young athletes under the age of 17, were introduced to encourage early participation of children in sports through the school system.

Akinbulumo said the inaugural edition has proved that the project could serve as a platform to improve the level at which emerging talents will be prepared toward national and international tournaments.