By Esther Akaa
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has redeemed the N16.5 million pledge he made to athletes, who won medals at the last National Sports Festival (NSF), held in Edo State.
The state Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Lucky Isaac-Yargwa disclosed this on Saturday at a press conference held at the Stephen Keshi International Stadium, Asaba, Delta state.
The Voice reports that Delta state is hosting the ongoing 21st edition of the NSF in Asaba, Delta State.
According to him, the gesture by Governor Sule is to further boost the morale of the athletes to redouble their efforts at this year’s edition of the event, saying that the governor believes in hard work and graciously rewards excellence to encourage productivity.
Isaac-Yargwa also revealed that Team Nasarawa has so far won three medals; including one silver from Para-Table Tennis and two from Taekwondo events (Poomsae Individual and Poomsae Team Event) respectively.
He said: “This is our 11th appearance at the National Sports Festival since Nasarawa State was created in 1996.
“Team Nasarawa started participating at the National Sports Festival in 1998 and the experience at the sports festival is second to none. It provides us with the opportunity to showcase what we have, both talent and sports-wise.
“In the 2021 edition of the Sports Festival in Edo State, Team Nasarawa won a total of 22 medals, which include 5 gold, four silver and 13 bronze medals, and finished 18th out of 36 states and FCT, Abuja, on the medals’ table and from the entire 19 Northern States and FCT, Abuja, only three states (namely, Kano, Plateau and Kwara) and FCT Abuja, did better than us at the last edition of the sports festival, even though we went with fewer sports events.
“That was one of our best outings since the festival began in 1973, that’s some 49 years ago, in Lagos.
“We are deliberate in building sports infrastructure and supporting human resource development for optimum performance and healthy competition wherever we find ourselves.”
The commissioner assured that the state government would continue to prioritise the welfare of its citizens and improve it to meet acceptable global standard.
He, expressed optimism that the team will perform better at this edition and win more medals, even as he said that at the end of the competition, Team Nasarawa will be among the top ten highest medal-winning states.
The commissioner also commended the organisers of the sports festival, Delta State government, the Federal Government and partners for ensuring that the event meets the required standard.
“The facilities are wonderful.The coordination is welcoming, and the hostel accommodation, especially for my contingent is excellent.
“Even though you can’t guarantee a perfect event, but I must say Delta state has fulfilled its promise of hosting a historic sports festival, and this is evident to everyone,” he said.
Isaac-Yargwa however, called on the organisers to put search lights in and around event centres to ensure that the aims and objectives of the sports festival are not eroded by selfish persons whose motive is to favour some states at the expense of others for personal gains.
The commissioner also called on stakeholders to stick to the rules and regulations guiding the competition and ensure that talents, irrespective of the state they come from, are discovered and be nurtured to represent the country at international sports competition.
He, urged participants to conduct themselves in an orderly manner and promote peaceful co-existence, love for one another and accept each other’s social, cultural, religious and economic values to achieve the aim and objectives of the fiesta.
The Voice reports that Team Nasarawa is currently participating in the ongoing NSF in Asaba with 181 athletes, 33 coaches, eight (8) referees, 27 sports secretaries, 20 accompanying officials, two (2) medical personnel and six (6) security details.