The National Youth Games, initiated in 2013, was conceived by the Federal Government under the leadership of His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. This multi-sporting event aimed to discover and nurture young talent, providing them with opportunities to excel in various sports disciplines.
The game continues to serve its purpose of discovering and nurturing young athletes and the 7th edition in Asaba, Delta State, is not an exception.
A 13-year-old swimmer, Demilade Akanbi (DemiGold), a student of Children International School Lagos, representing Team Lagos is one of the standout talents at this year’s event.
Normally any chance for just a single gold medal is enough weight of expectancy on any athlete, but for Demilade that can be multiplied by three as many hope, and indeed expect, her to do something which many for years have said is impossible.
Demilade however went on to produce one of the best individual performances in the history of the games, winning three Gold medals.
Demilade’s victories in the 50-meter Backstroke, 100-meter Butterfly, and 4×50-meter Mixed Medley Relay is the testament for her exceptional skills and versatility in swimming.
Demilade’s elation and excitement are entirely justified, considering her remarkable performance in her first appearance at the National Youth Games.
Her enthusiasm is evident in her words, “This is my first time participating in the National Youth Games, and I am quite excited because of all the medals I won.”She said.
Demilade’s determination all through the tournament is inspiring. Her commitment to continuously improving her skills with the goal of one day competing at the Olympics and breaking records shows her ambition and dedication to the sport of swimming.
“I will keep improving on my talent, my dream is to make it to the Olympics and also break records”, She added.
The support and motivation Demilade receives from her mother is undoubtedly valuable factors contributing to her success.
Having a strong support system can make a significant difference in an athlete’s journey, and it’s heartening to hear about the role her mother plays in helping her achieve her goals in swimming.
“I get a lot of motivation from my Mom. She helps and motivates me, whenever “I am faced with any challenge she is always there to guide me through.
“I must say her motivation and support plays a key role in what I have achieved today”. She concluded.
Stephen Cole, a former Nigeria’s international and one time Special Assistant to former Delta state Governot Ifeanyi Okowa, believes, Demilade has what it takes to be an Olympic Champion.
“There is no other stage for you, to prove your talent than here, especially in a country like ours.”
“The youngster demonstrated qualities and I hope she makes it to the top ” He said.
Demilade is on the promising path toward a successful swimming career. Her achievements are a source of pride and hope for Nigerian sports.