By Esther Akaa
Team Benue ended up with 3 gold, a silver and 3 bronze medals to occupy 21st position on the medals table at the just concluded National Sports Festival (NSF) held in Asaba, Delta State.
Team Delta emerged winners of the competition with 320 gold, 200 silver and 128 bronze medals to edge 35 other states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja at the festival.
Bayelsa State, Delta’s neighbour came second with 132 gold, 115 silver and 90 bronze medals, followed by Edo, which hosted 20th edition of the fiesta, won 78 gold, 94 silver and 167 bronze medals to make it a South-South affair in the top-ranking states.
Team Oyo however, emerged 4th with 50 gold, 51 silver and 62 bronze medals, while Lagos secured 41 gold, 57 silver and 74 bronze medals to come 5th.
Rivers completed the circle of all-southern states’ domination with 35 gold, 57 silver and 117 bronze medals to occupy the 6th position.
At the closing ceremony of the sports fiesta held recently, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare, announced that the next host of the 22nd edition of the event will be Ogun State.
Oyo state as runners-up will be on standby in case Ogun State falters in hosting the biannual games.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Voice, Benue State Director of Sports, Philip Nongu, lauded the performance of his contingents at the event, expressing hope that the athletes will do better in the next edition of the sports festival.
“What has happened in Asaba this year is something wonderful that we have to applaud God. If you look at our results in the past festivals, I think this is one of the best we have ever had so far despite the fact that we had some challenges.
“We have been able to manage our resources and the result showed and I hope Benue people will also be happy,” he said.
The director, while appreciating Governor Samuel Ortom for providing the necessary funds for the event, appealed to the state government to do more in the aspect of sports funding for better performance at next edition of the sports fiesta.
He, also commended Delta State government for providing state of the arts facilities for the festival and urged them to maintain the facilities even after the festival.