By Clara Egbogota
Lagos, – The Chairman, Lagos State Karate Association (LSKA), Bello Omololu, says grassroots sports development remains critical for discovering and harnessing of potential sporting talents.
Omololu made the assertion on Sunday at the 5th Edition of “Optimum Impact” South-West, Under-18 Karate Championship at the Molade Okoya Sports Centre, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
According to him, martial art helps to improve the physical intelligence of children.
He said the sport has capacity to improve the concentration, memory, coordination, good self confidence and comportment of young people.
“We must continually embark on development of the sport at the grassroots in line with our objective to discover new talents, and groom them up to become national and international champions.
“We have an eight year developmental programme, discovering talents, grooming them and exposing them to different competitions.
“ By doing that, we will be able to groom new talents that can win at Olympic, national and international levels.
“About two years ago, we discovered a boy, based on that we exposed him to several opportunities, and he was able to win gold medal at the West African level.
“He has also won medals at the national level at his tender age.
“One way of developing karate at the grassroots is by us setting up competitions for them at the primary and secondary school levels so that they can showcase their talents,” he said.
Also, Sola Shoyoye, LSKA Head Coach, said that raw talents could only be discovered through grassroots programmes.
Shoyoye urged governments at all levels, sports lovers as well as wealthy individuals to invest in sports development at the grassroots to uncover hidden sporting talents.
“Karate also needs proper funding, so that we can get some of the children off the streets. Those of them doing menial jobs all over the places can be trained to become useful for themselves and for the country,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that over 190 athletes drawn from 30 clubs and 43 schools in Lagos State participated in the Optimum Impact Karate (Under 18) Championship.
The event saw athletes battled for honours in Senior and Junior individual Kata and Kumite and Junior team Kata and Kumite who are not more than three years.
NAN further reports that medals were won in different categories.(