Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Standard Sports Facilities as Predictor for Elite Sports Performance by Nigerian University Students

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Standard Sports Facilities as Predictor for Elite Sports Performance by Nigerian University Students

Article excerpt

Introduction

Universities as centres of excellence are supposed to provide leadership in all fields of human endeavour, sports inclusive. Though, Nigerian universities are known to have produced experts in the fields of literature, drama, economics, politics, science and technology, as well as engineering they are yet to produce elite and champion athletes the nation can be proud of. This situation has become worrisome to well - meaning Nigerian sports lovers considering the fact that majority of undergraduate athletes who don the national colours in World Universities Games (F.I.S.U) are foreign based. It has become necessary to ask why Nigerian universities have not blazed the trail in an important endeavour such as sports as obtains in Europe and the United States of America (Jeroh, 2003).

In spite of many years of Nigeria Universities Games Association (NUGA) competitions existence, Nigerians are yet to feel the impact of universities in the sports scene. Sanya (2003) averred that at the national level, there is the need to draw benefits from the products of university games for utilization at national and international sporting events in order to have an enhanced national sporting image.

Success in any human endeavour depends on the interplay of many variables. To excel in sports, Nigerian universities must have adequate sports facilities and equipment readily available. Facilities and equipment as used here include all playing avenues such as fields, courts, indoor halls, all implements such as rackets, hockey sticks, balls, boots, javelins, nets etc (Jeroh, 2005). Bucher (2003) opined that facilities are paramount structures which make participation in physical activities possible and easy while Awoyinfa and Adeyeye (2007) asserted that sports facilities are the laboratories and production centers for athletes and as such their provision and maintenance should not be treated with levity.

Jeroh (2005) posited that sportsmen and women must have a conducive environment in which to train and compete; conducive in terms of adequate and well prepared, well kept facilities, equipment and supplies, good coaching and medical care. Without these essentials, the enthusiasm, dedication and the will to win characteristic of the seasoned athletes will not be there. Adequate provision of facilities and equipment will not only ensure happy environment but also minimize hazards to health and safety (Ojeme, 1999). According to Chukwu (2001), adequate physical infrastructures are necessary for effective sports performance and encouragement. To him, physical stimuli such as the sports arena or the facilities and equipment themselves can influence the athletes.

In many of Nigerian universities, there is the absence of standard sports facilities. The lack of basic sports facilities and equipment hinders sports development in many universities (Mshelia, 2003). Mgbor and Obiyemi (2001) observed that most of the universalities have little or no sports facilities befitting the status of a university. In Europe and the United States, international sports fiestas such as the Olympics have been hosted by universities because of availability of facilities. The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics took place in a university facility.

Corroborating the substandard nature of sports facilities in Nigerian universities Ogundare (2003), affirmed that the few universities where facilities exist benefited from facility development opportunities that the hosting of NUGA games offered. Such universities include the universities of Benin, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Ahmadu Bello, and University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He agreed that most of the universities have available field spaces for ball games, such as football, handball, volleyball, hockey which are mostly utilized for multi ball games with moveable goal posts. Facilities for squash racket, swimming pool, standard track and field events are lacking. He also contended that in institutions with gymnasium / sports halls, they are minimally equipped and could suffice for badminton, table tennis and basketball tournaments. …

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