The National Youth Games (NYG) kicks off in 5, 6 days time, and preparations are in top gear, especially among the athletes. 13 year old Soliu Mohammed Jamiu, who is only in SS1, is one of the future stars confirmed for participation in the games. The lad has now almost made the Kwara State Stadium is second home.
Mohammed Jamiu is one of the mounting teenagers developing keen interest in the noble game of squash, a sport growing splendidly in Nigeria. Unlike compatriot Abdul Raheem Durosinlorun who took after his father, Yusuf Durosinlorun, nobody in Soliu Mohammed Jamiu’s family ever played the racket sport professionally.
“He didn’t take the sport after anyone in our family. He likes it. I am not the one who chose it for him. It is his choice,” Sikirat Soliu, mother of Mohammed Jamiu stresses exclusively to Top Media Nigeria.
Tournaments that give junior players tangible consideration are now put together. There is the Ex Pro Squash as well as Cargolux Merchant Express Squash tournaments regularly organized. Mohammed Jamiu, whose role model is Coach Biliki Mogaji (sibling of Bola Mogaji, President, Squash Referees’ Association of Nigeria) is frequently part of these tournaments.
Sikirat Soliu states: “He always partake in tournaments – like twice in Lagos for instance.”
Not all parents endorse their child(ren) to take to sport earnestly, Soliu is different.
“I always encourage him because he loves squash dearly. It is what he wants.”
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On how the young boy who is currently ranked no. 9 in the Under-16 category of squash players in Nigeria combines education with sport, his mother explains it is not a problem at all.
“During school periods, he always go to school in the morning. Later in the day, he heads to the squash court(s) at the stadium.
“He meets his principals and informs them. If it is during exams, they allow him to do his own. Or when he return, they conduct it for him. His principal is aware he plays squash because when he was starting, he informed his principal.”
The well-pleased mother submits: “After the National Youth Games, I will allow him to carry on.”
The NYG was first held in 2013. It is a multi-sports event open to only athletes below 15 years of age. In the year that precede the Summer Youth Olympic Games, the tournament is used in selecting Nigeria’s representatives to the international event. Ilorin, the Kwara state capital is host of this year’s NYG.
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