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Delta athletes grumble over Okowa’s cash reward for 2018 sports festival


[FILE PHOTO] Delta State Governor, H.E Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa

Some athletes in Delta State are grumbling over what they term ‘meagre’ cash reward by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa after emerging overall winners at Abuja 2018 National Sports Festival.

Team Delta was rewarded with over N403 million by Okowa on Monday for doing the state proud. The State won 163 gold, 88 silver and 101 bronze, totaling 352 medals at the 2018 National Sports Festival.

Okowa rewarded each gold medalist with N1 million, silver medalists N500, 000, while bronze medalists got N250, 000. Those who also did the state proud at the 2018 National Youth Games in Ilorin, Kwara State also received N100, 000 for gold medals, N75,000 for silver and N50,000 for bronze.

However, the athletes, who won gold medals in team sport events at the Abuja 2018 are claiming that they got less cash rewards, compared to what they were given after participating at previous National Sports Festival.

According to one of the protesting athletes, a handball player, a gold medalist in team sport got N250,000 from Governor Okowa, as against N400,000 cash reward they got after winning Eko 2012 National Sports Festival.He said: “Gold medals are very difficult to get in team sport at any major sporting events compared to individual sports. Handball (male) and volleyball (female) won gold medals for Team Delta in Abuja, and we got just N250,000. That is unacceptable.

“At the end of Eko 2012 National Sports Festival, gold medalists in team sports got N400,000, while silver medalists were rewarded with N350,000. How come Okowa is giving us just N250,000 this time? Someone should help us tell the governor that we won gold medals, but not a bronze. We need our money,” the athlete stated.

Efforts to speak with the chairman of Delta State Sports Commission, Tonobok Okowa, yesterday were unsuccessful. But one official who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed that the N250,000 given to gold medallists in team sports was different from what they sent to the Government House for final approval.

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