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5 things we learnt from 2018 National Sports festival

December 20th 2018, 9:22:38 am

After six years of postponing Nigerias best athletes finally participated at the 2018 National Sports festival

Delta Stae

The 2018 National Sports Festival was reignited in Abuja from Thursday, December 6 till Sunday, December 16 in Abuja, after a six-year absence.

Despite concerns about the state of the pitch of the National Stadium Abuja and facilities, the tournament was held but not without hindrances.

Here are five things we learned from the 2018 National Sports festival.

Team Delta State amassed 163 gold medals to win the 2018 National Sports Festival to emerge champions yet again.

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Their medal haul included 163 gold, 87 silver, and 101 bronze to claim the first position ahead of Rivers State who had 69 gold, 58 silver, and 66 bronze medals.

Delta State has always been a stronghold for sports in Nigeria and their athletes did not fail to deliver as they scooped a total of 351 medals to emerge the winning state.

Third on the medal table was Edo State with 47 gold, 41 Silver,  53 bronze medals as Lagos and Bayelsa finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Delta State has always produced great athletes across all competitions especially in track and field for the country.

The 2018 National Sports Festival has once again showcased that Delta State is the hub of sports in the country and the state government should be praised for realizing their potential for sports.

The National Sports Festival was postponed on three separate occasions since the 2012 edition held in Lagos.

Major reasons are due to preparation and facilities, the 2018 edition held in Abuja did not spark up much fanfare or attraction from start to finish.

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For a country as blessed as Nigeria, stadiums and adequate facilities for athletes should not be a reoccurring problem.

The government has o do more in maintenance and rehabilitation for the national stadium to meet world class standard and show an example for each state.

Winners of the 2018 National Sports Festival, Delta State were hailed and paraded as heroes by their governor and assurances were given that they will be heavily compensated for their feat.

It remains to be seen when the promises will manifest, but unlike Delta State, Ogun State athletes were forced out of their hostels just a day after the competition.

The athletes of the states were pushed out of their accommodation with their luggage by officials with the state coordinator offering little help or assistance until days later.

Most Nigerian athletes live in penury and have other part-time jobs as a means for sustenance.

For sports to develop in Nigeria, the athletes must be thoroughly encouraged and compensated to give their best and focus on their trade.

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Two states Ebonyi and Katsina did not participate at the 19th National Sports Festival.

Sport is a unifying factor and a means of cohesion for Nigerians, as such no state should be permitted not to send athletes to the games.

To critically assess the development of any state, Sports is a factor, and with these states with a population above 200,000 it is impossible and disgraceful not to be able to send representatives to the games and shows that Sports which can be used as a tool for employment and development has taken a backseat or is non-existent in the state.

Borno, Gombe, Ekiti, Zamfara, Adamawa, Taraba, and Sokoto states were the seven countries not to win any gold medal but at least their athletes provided hope for upcoming sportsmen and women in their various backgrounds.

At the closing ceremony of the 2018 National Sports Festival, it was announced that Edo State will be the host of the next edition of the games in 2020.

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The governor of the state was delighted to host the next edition of the games assuring that they will begin preparations for a successful showing.

He said, “There will be challenges on the way, no doubt but we are Edo people. We have the men who can do the job and the facilities that will facilitate performance.

“Whatever challenges there are, we will overcome because Edo people tread were even lions do not. Like our warriors of old, we will slay every foe and surmount every obstacle to succeed.”

 “The 2020 Sports Festival will be different from any previously hosted and any that will come after it. Perhaps it can only be surpassed in splendor and organization the next time Edo State hosts it afterward.

“The Edo 2020 Sports Festival will be a festival thriving on “strategy, organization, technical apparatus, science, mechanics, and morale."

With the 2020 Olympics Games to hold in the same year, there cannot be any excuses or postponements.

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