Okowa who personally attended the closing ceremony of the games at the National Stadium Abuja on Sunday was elated that Team Delta defended the National Sports Festival trophy won at the Eko 2012 games in Lagos with a total medal haul of 352, comprising of 163 gold medals, 88 silver medals and 101 bronze medals.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, on Monday, December 17, 2018, the Governor thanked the Delta State Sports Commission, coaching crew and supporters for their hard-work and dedication which culminated in the team's victory.
While congratulating the Federal Ministry of Sports for successfully organising the festival, Governor Okowa said: “There is no doubt that sports development is very important in our nation. with all the energy in our youths, they need to be guided in the right direction; for us as a state government, we believe that the youths must be engaged continually in sports activities.” Sports is a unifying factor for us particularly in Delta State that is multi-ethnic; it also helps the youths to be disciplined,” he stated.
The Governor urged parents and stakeholders to encourage their children and wards to engage in sporting activities for its socio-economic benefits.
"Our administration is inspired to invest in sports development by the achievements recorded by previous administrations in the state as well as that of General Samuel Ogbemudia when he was the Governor of the defunct Bendel State," he added.
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari had congratulated the Delta team for their victory at the sport festival.