National Youth Games’ athletes ‘slept’ in Benin by-pass traffic
• No crisis in Delta’s camp, says Okowa
Some athletes and officials traveling to Asaba, Delta State, for the 2023 National Youth Games were forced to spend the night on the Benin by-pass traffic logjam due to the terrible situation of the road.
The Seventh National Youth Games started at the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba, yesterday, but some state contingents were stuck in a terrible traffic on the Benin by-pass for several hours.
The Guardian, learnt, yesterday, that some athletes, coaches and accompanying officials from some southwest states, including Lagos, Ondo and Ogun, spent the night at the Benin by-pass.
Some of the officials, who spoke with The Guardian, lamented the situation on the corridor, just as they expressed fear that some of the athletes might miss their events scheduled for yesterday morning.
“You won’t believe that some of us (athletes and officials) slept on this bad spot. It was terrible,” one athletics coach said in a telephone conversation with The Guardian.
Meanwhile, the Delta State Sports Commission has denied allegation of a protest by its athletes over poor condition in their camp.
The Chairman of the Commission, Tonobok Okowa, described the online report as callous and wicked.
“In Delta, our major priority is the welfare of the athletes and their officials,” Okowa told The Guardian. “It is laughable to read such online report that we shortchanged our athletes. I see such report as a calculated attempt to distract Team Delta from retaining its title at the end of this National Youth Games.”
Also speaking on the issue, the head coach of Team Delta, Seigha Porbeni said: “I can say it authoritatively that Okowa won’t touch funds meant for athletes. He is looking forward to winning the games on home soil like we did last year during the National Sports Festival.
“Again, the athletes we have in our camp are 15 years and below, and not between 10 and 20 years as claimed by the online report. Some people are just looking for a way to distract us by sponsoring all sorts of stories to paint Chief Tonobok Okowa and Team Delta in bad light,” Porbeni stated.
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