Dare thumps up Festival as six states jostle for hosting right
Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare, has expressed his satisfaction with the level of activities at the ongoing National Sports Festival in Asaba, Delta State.
The minister swiftly returned to Asaba after attending the 62nd Ordinary Session of Authority of Heads of State and Government at the start of the week.
Fielding questions from the press after another tour of various game venues, Dare said the Festival has lived up to expectations in spite the short span of time the Ministry and Delta State had to plan.
“We have not been disappointed. We have seen very young athletes from virtually all the states compete in various sports, with the youngest at about eight years old. This speaks to grassroots development, a major focus of our administration. What Delta State has put together in just about a few months, testifies to how well they have done,” he said.
The minister stated that every room for improvement is being noted and the standard of the game will certainly continue to get better year on year.
He added: “The most important thing is that we made this happen. We built up a momentum in Edo State, we sustained it through Delta State and we hope that by December 10, when we announce the next hosts, we can sustain that, too.”
As at the start of Day 6, hosts, Delta State were comfortably leading the medals table with 69 gold, 33 silver and 25 bronze medals. Ogun State sat second with 10 gold, six silver and nine bronze medals, while Oyo State were third with nine gold, 10 silver and six bronze medals.
Meanwhile, six states have so far indicated interest to be given the hosting right of the next edition, which is expected to hold in 2024. Dare disclosed this yesterday at the Stephen Keshi Stadium shortly after watching the gymnastics event between Team FCT, Delta and Ondo.
The minister disclosed that a report, which will reveal the next host, is likely to be submitted on Friday, December 9, 2022, which is the eve of the closing ceremony for the festival.
He said that there is a process to be followed before picking any hosting state, explaining, “by that day my Director, Peter Nelson, will present to me the state that will host. But until then, I won’t be able to disclose it to you. The committee is working on evaluation and scoring before any decision can be taken on the hosting right,” he said.
The minister assured that the process will ensure that states that will come second and third respectively will get prepared to avoid what happened in the past that saw Cross River State unable to host the event for more than six years.