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Delta sports officials, contractors smile to the bank after postponement of festival

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Foreign-based athletes still in hotel

The Federal Government decision to postpone the National Sports Festival may have turned to be a big blessing for some individuals in Delta State.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday approved the postponement of Edo 2020 National Sports Festival, three days to its commencement as a precautionary move against the spread of the dreaded COVID-19.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that some top officials of Delta Sports Commission as well as food contractors are smiling to the bank with the proceeds they made from the long camping exercise by the state athletes and officials.

A source close to the Sports Commission hinted that a top official, who was in-charge of providing kits for the athletes, coaches and accompanying officials was full of smile shortly since the postponement was announced boasting that he made a lot of fortunes from the camping.

According to the source, the official spent over three weeks abroad, where he purchased the kits. “He is smiling and bragging about that even if the National Sports Festival did not hold this year, he has made his money already.”

Team Delta, the defending champions of the National Sports Festival had a large contingent of 977 athletes and 171 officials in camp before the postponement was announced on Tuesday.

Another top official of Team Delta described as ‘coordinator’ of foreign-based athletes is also said to be smiling to the bank.

Team Delta had listed 34 foreign-based athletes for the sports festival, with three of them (volleyball players) already in Asaba before the postponement. The ‘coordinator’ was said to have travelled round some countries to meet with the athletes. The state had allegedly spent over N20million on flight tickets for the foreign-based athletes before the postponement on Tuesday.

Also smiling to the bank are local contractors, including food vendors.Team Delta was said to have spent over N3million daily for feeding and payment of camp allowances to the athletes.

Three sports, weightlifting, canoeing and Dart were said to have began camping on February 19, before other sports joined on March 2.

The food contractors are of the opinion that a new camping exercise for the athletes will take place for them to make some more money any time the sports festival holds.

Another source hinted yesterday that the three foreign-based female volleyball players who were already in Asaba for the Sports Festival, Mercy Promise (Cyprus), Onyearone Verere (United Kingdom) and Angela Ebele (Beckford, England), are still in camp at Jojesil hotel, off Nnebisi road, Asaba. Other athletes were decamped on Wednesday.

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