Team Delta on Saturday emerged as the overall winner of the 21st National Sports Festival the State government hosted in the capital city of Asaba.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports that Delta won a total of 320 gold medals, 200 silver medals and 128 bronze medals to emerge overall winner of the sports festival.
The final medals table shows that Delta’s neighbours, Bayelsa, came second with 132 gold, 115 silver and 90 bronze medals.
Edo, which hosted the festival’s 20th edition, came third with 78 gold, 94 silver and 167 bronze medals to make it a South-South affair in the top-three ranking.
See final medals table below:
TNG reports no fewer than 14,000 athletes participated in 38 sports at the festival. However, allegation of poaching trailed the 21st National Sports Festival.
National Sports Festival now looking like trading post – Rivers Sports Commissioner
Christopher Green, the Rivers Commissioner for Sports had said the situation the National Sports Festival (NSF) has found itself now is lamentable.
Speaking in Asaba on Friday on the sidelines of the 21st NSF, Green disclosed that the national competition could now be likened to “a trading post”.
”The NSF is supposed to be a platform to raise and groom talents, and to develop them into international athletes. But what we now have is like a trading post,” he said.
The Commissioner said the way athletes were being lured by some states to compete for them was unbecoming and not good for sports.
”An athlete can be with one state now, and the next day he or she will be competing at the festival for another state.
”It is so painful when you spend a lot of time and other resources to raise an athlete, only for another state to come and lure that athlete away with money.
”This has made the festival to become like an event for the highest bidder.
”The fact that the NSF organisers, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, are not curtailing it makes it a big problem for sports development,” he said.
Green then called for an amendment of the residency rule for athletes competing at the festival.
”The rule should make the number of years such athletes have to be with their new states five years, so as to curtail the movement of athletes just before festivals,” he said.
Ogun State to host 2024 National Sports Festival
Meanwhile, Ogun State has been officially announced as the next host of the National Sports Festival (NSF), their second hosting after their first one in 2006.
Youth and Sports Development Minister Sunday Dare, made the announcement on Saturday in Asaba during the closing ceremony of the 21st NSF.
Dare said five states put in the bid to host the 22nd edition of the festival, billed for 2024.
He however said for the first time the competition’s hosting right would have a first runners-up in Oyo State.
“Following the evaluation of the bids and physical evaluation to the states, the runners-up will be on stand-by,” the minister said.
He said the essence of placing a willing state on stand-by was to make them ready in case the earlier chosen state failed to meet up.