After numerous postponements owing mainly to the corona virus disease pandemic, the 20th National Sports Festival, tagged Edo 2020, is set to hold in Benin, Edo State.
The festival will run from April 2 to April 14, 2021 with the number of athletes and officials expected to participate in the games reduced from 14,000 to 8,000 in line with COVID-19 protocols.
Early last week, COVID-19 related guidelines were agreed upon for the National Sports Festival and duly signed into effect by the Edo State Deputy Governor and chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Philip Shaibu.
According to the guidelines, the Main Organising Committee (MOC) has decided that all athletes and officials from the 35 states and the FCT participating in the Festival must take COVID-19 tests 72 hours before arrival for the games.
Also, athletes and officials are to take COVID-19 vaccine at least 12 days before arrival for the games. They are also expected to present certificates and documentation of COVID-19 tests and vaccination before they can be admitted into the games villages in the state.
To ensure compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, officials of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are to arrive in Benin City four days to the commencement of the festival.
It is also expected that the Local Organising Committee (LOC) would ensure strict observance of COVID-19 protocols at the camps of the various contingents to the festival as well as at the various event centres to ensure safety of athletes, officials, spectators, etc.
While The Voice commends these anti-COVID-19 measures, we strongly recommend that anti-doping measures should also be put in place to discourage drug-inspired performances at the festival.