Former African long jump champion and Chairman of the Edo State Sports Commission, Yusuf Alli has advocated for stiffer measures to curtail age cheating in Nigerian sports.
Alli who still holds the national long jump record of 8.27m stated these following reports of widespread alleged use of over-aged athletes by some states at the ongoing National Youth Games in Asaba, Delta State.
He stated that the NYG is a developmental competition and not a win at all cost competition.
“If we run at the right age, sports will grow; if we cheat, sports will not grow,” Alli said at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.
“I can give you an example. There was this guy back in the days, who ran in Oluyole ‘79 National Festival, in 1984 he ran junior with the likes of Gabriel Okon.
“This guy I am talking about was older than me. When I was running senior, he was running junior, but at the end of the day what was the outcome? What was his input to Nigerian sports? So this is how cheating has been killing Nigerian sports.”
He submitted that by cutting their ages, athletes are only doing themselves a disfavour.
“If an athlete who is 18 is claiming to be 14, how can he improve if he is getting the training of a 14-year-old? For instance, for 14-year-old, you can only load them with 1000m of training per section. For 18 you are supposed to do 1700m per section, so how can an athlete improve,” he queried.