Asaba 2022 will re-write history of National Sports Festival, says Okowa
We know what the Games mean to Nigerians – LOC boss
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has said the 21st National Sports Festival, which the state is hosting next year, will re-write the history of the biannual sports fiesta.
For many followers of the National Sports Festival, Makurdi ’96 and Imo ’98 editions remain two of the best ever in terms of glamour and crowd.
Some feel that Garden City 2011 Games held in Rivers State also fall in that category. But unlike the situation in 2011, where the host, Rivers State, was accused of deploying ‘the host to win’ tactics, Makurdi ’96 and Imo ’98 were adjudged as athletes-friendly Games.
The 21st National Sports Festival will hold between November 2 and 15, 2022, but Governor Okowa has declared that every participant, including athletes, coaches, accompanying officials and journalists will be proud of the state at the end of the Games.
Governor Okowa spoke at the extraordinary meeting of the National Council on Sports at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.
While reacting to a challenge by Sports Minister, Chief Sunday Dare, that Delta must do everything possible to surpass the standard set by Edo State (immediate past host of the festival), Okowa said: “In Delta, anything we want to do, we do it to the satisfaction of everyone. Asaba is ready, and we are going to set a high standard in terms of infrastructure and other facilities that will be in place in the next few months.”
Okowa, whose tenure as governor has won the National Sports Festival twice, at Abuja 2018 and Edo 2020, identified sports as a powerful medium to weld national unity when appropriately harnessed, funded and utilised.
He called for holistic approach to sports development and management in the country to maximise the contribution of sports to national development.
MEANWHILE, the chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), who is also Secretary to Delta State Government, Patrick Ukah, has assured that the 17-member committee won’t disappoint Nigerians.
He said: “A great number of us in the LOC have participated in the National Sports Festival at one time and the other, and we know what the Games mean to Nigerians. We are going to deliver a bigger, better and athletes-friendly sports festival in November 2022.”