Bala Hassan, the Assistant General-Inspector (AIG), Zone 2, says that engaging children early in sports, especially Golf has help to reduce vices among the youth.
Hassan, the Proprietor of Bala Hassan Golf Club, Jos, made the assertion at the closing of the 2nd Awa Ibraheem Junior Golf Open Championships in Ikeja on Sunday.
Hassan, who expressed happiness with the performance of his club’s players, said he was delighted with the trophies they won in their categories.
“We have won a number of tournaments. In Awa Ibraheem Golf Tournament which is in the second edition, we won some and lost some.
“Golf has helped to sharpen their skills if you noticed; the issue of crime around Jos has drops drastically because most of these youths come there.
“Some of the youths that do not belong to the club come there to watch those who engaged in golf to divert their mind from other anti- social activities.
“It is not only golf even if you check the football club you will see one or two children that football has taken away from crime and that’s another way of fighting crime,” he said.
Hassan told NAN that he hoped to partner with the Ikoyi Golf Club to help to develop golf in the country.
“I learnt that there is one in Ikoyi. I could partner with the Ikoyi Golf Club as a way of imparting and developing Golf in Nigeria.
“I will be glad to see if a ‘Tiger Woods’ will emerge in the next two years to come from either Lagos or Jos or anywhere in Nigeria, that will be a dream come true for me,” he said.
Emy Ekong, the Youth Development Director, Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF), said the competition was achieving its aim of creating awareness about the sport at the grassroots.
Ekong said the tournament had helped to get more boys and girls introduced to the sport and would ultimately prevent them from engaging in vices.
She disclosed that 166 children aged four to 17 participated in the tournament which held from Oct. 17 to Oct. 18 at the Ikeja Golf Club.
She added that the tournament, tied to the birthday celebration of Mr Awa Ibraheem, the sponsor, would now be held annually.
“The aim of tournaments like this is to develop these children and create awareness of the game in them.
“You know people like us started very late but if you introduce it early to the life of children, I think we will have better players just like Tiger Woods.
“Some of them can take it up as a profession in the future,” she said.
Ekong also disclosed that the tournament would now be organised annually because of the response from children golfers all over the country.
“There was an understanding that Awa Ibraheem should hold for three years to know how it will run.
“We commenced last year, we are supposed to terminate it next year but because of the response from everyone all over Nigeria we have decided that it should be an annual event.
“The event will also be tied to the Awa Ibraheem’s birthday so that is why the tournament is hosted every October 19, or few days before or after it.
“Last year, we had 137 children and this year we have 166 children that participated.
“Last year it was between the ages 11 and 17, but this year it is from 17 and below,” the director said.
She urged parents to encourage their children to participate in sports alongside their education.
Ekong noted that children who were involved in sports had little time to engage in crime and other vices.
Meanwhile, Ibraheem has said that golf was a game that relaxed the nerves as it studies the attributes and attitudes of people.
“My perception about Golf is that it was for lazy people until I got engaged in it, but actually it is a relaxing sport that can be played by one alone or in the company of friends.
“I congratulate all the participants in this competition. Winning is not everything in sports, what matters most is the spirit of sportsmanship.
“Winners in the competition will have their school fees paid for two years and those in secondary school for a year,” he said.