From Esther Akaa, Lafia
About 277 athletes from Nasarawa State on Tuesday departed Lafia, the state capital to participate in the 21st edition of the National Sports Festival holding in Asaba, Delta State.
The Voice reports that the state contingent comprised 181 athletes, 33 coaches, eight referees, 27 sports secretaries, 20 accompanying officials, two medical personnel and six security personnel.
The team will participate in 27 sporting events, including Athletics, Basketball (Male and Female), Karate, Kung-Fu, Taekwondo, Hockey, Weightlifting, Judo, Darts, Chess, Boxing, Wrestling, Tennis, Table Tennis, Golf, Ayo, Kokowa, Dambe, Volleyball (Male and Female), Scrabble, Para-Athletics, Cycling, Para-Table Tennis, and Para-Weightlifting.
Speaking in an interview with The Voice, Leader of the delegation and Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Isah Eyah, expressed optimism that the athletes would do the state proud at the multi-sports festival.
Eyah said that Governor Abdullahi Sule was committed to promoting sports in the state, hence he made timely, necessary and adequate provisions for the state’s contingent to excel at the event.
He, assured that the team was prepared to bring back more medals that would surpass their previous medals’ records during the sporting event.
Also speaking, to The Voice, one of the coaches, Martina Faga explained that participants have been thoroughly trained by their coaches, expressing hope that Team Nasarawa will emerge victorious at the fiesta.
“I am very optimistic that Team Nasarawa will perform better at this year’s National Sports Festival because we the coaches have done our best in training our athletes and we believe they will do us proud,” she said.
She, commended Governor Sule and the state Ministry of Youth and Sports Development for their commitment towards the development of sporting activities in the state and urged them to do more.
Also speaking, one of the athletes, who plays Ayo, Barnabas Iorhemen said he was ready to win gold medals for the state, saying that athletes have been effectively trained to enable them succeed.
The Voice reports that the 21st biennial National Sports Festival is holding at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba with thousands of athletes, coaches and among others across Nigeria and about four selected West African countries.
It would be recalled that the last edition of the sports festival held in Benin City, Edo State in 2021 and Team Nasarawa won a total of 22 medals, comprising five gold, four silver and 13 bronze medals, respectively.