Edo Athletes in dilemma over camping for sports festival
Edo State athletes and their officials are said to be in dilemma over the commencement date of their camping ahead of the February 14 flag-off date of the 20th National Sports Festival.
The festival, tagged Edo 2020, had suffered a series of postponements since it was moved from its initial date of March 2020, due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. It was shifted to December 2020, and later, the sports ministry picked January 3, 2021, before settling for a new date of February 14 to 28.
However, what appears a dark cloud now surrounds the new date of February 14 to 28.
On Tuesday, the Main Organising Committee (MOC) from the Sports Ministry, Abuja, and members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) took another tour of facilities in Benin City to ascertain the level of preparedness by the host. At the end, it was agreed by both parties that the festival would go ahead on February 14 as planned.
The Guardian learnt that before the visit by the MOC, Team Edo had begun open camping on January 23, with the athletes and their coaches coming from their various home to train.
“What we were told before the arrival of the MOC from Abuja was that the entire contingent of Team Edo will commence close camping on February 1,” an official told The Guardian yesterday. “As we speak, there is no sign on the ground to suggest that the sports festival will take place, not to talk of our athletes going into close camping. We are in dilemma here.”
The official continued: “It will be a disaster for the sports festival to suffer another postponement after several months of training by the athletes. The first excuse given for the postponement was the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the music has changed to lack of funds. Our governor said there is no money. When are we going to be serious in this country?” the official lamented.
Meanwhile, some Edo State athletes were said to have sponsored themselves to the AFN All-Comers event, which holds today in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The AFN All-Comers is the first athletics competition for the year, and the athletes want to use it to test their level of fitness for the sports festival.
“The AFN All-Comers in Akure is an avenue for our athletes to test their fitness level ahead of the National Sports Festival, but there is no money from the government to take them there. Some of them have decided to sponsor themselves to Akure,” one of the coaches revealed yesterday.
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