Monday, 11th December 2023

No medal for Benue, Sokoto as National Youth Games end

By Gowon Akpodonor
30 September 2023   |   4:05 am
After 10 days of intense competitions, the 7th National Youth Games comes to an end today, at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Delta State.

Rugby players battle for medals at the 7th National Youth Games

• Ndubisi Gets Silver For Enugu
• Ekiti Athletes Get New Wears After Kits Scandal
• Lack Of Fund May Affect Closing Ceremony 

After 10 days of intense competitions, the 7th National Youth Games comes to an end today, at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Delta State.

And unless a miracle happens, the contingent from two states, Benue and Sokoto, will return home empty-handed after failing to win a single medal in the competition.

As at the close of events, yesterday, Benue and Sokoto were the only states out of the 30 states that were yet to register their names on the medals table.

On Tuesday evening, Enugu, Adamawa, Benue, Bauchi, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Sokoto, and Taraba states were without any colour of medal on the table.

But the situation took a new dimension for seven states, Adamawa, Bauchi, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, and Taraba soon afterward, as their athletes increased their work rate at competition grounds, which gave them medals.

Enugu State made it to the medal table on Thursday evening when Ikenna Ndubisi clinched the first silver medal in wrestling.

The kid wrestler lost the final 52kg freestyle wrestling event to Eguda Perelade of Delta State, with Abdullahi Adamu of Bauchi and Nabil Al Hassan of Kano settling for the bronze medals.

Enugu State contingent celebrated the silver medal won by Ndubisi late into the night.

Going by the events lined up for today’s closing ceremony, it might require a divine intervention for Benue and Sokoto to pick a medal.

To thrill the spectators, the organisers decided to keep the final of the 100m, 200m, 4x100m, and 4x400m relay events till the closing ceremony this evening.

The hosts, Delta, Edo, and Lagos have shown that they are the states to beat in these events.

As of yesterday evening, the defending champions, Delta State was topping the table with 36 gold, 25 silver, and 23 bronze medals. Lagos is second with 18 gold, 12 silver and 15 bronze medals, while Edo State is third with 17 gold, 15 silver and 13 bronze. Bayelsa State is in the fourth position with 17 gold, 6 silver and 14 bronze medals.

Today’s closing ceremony will allow Team Ekiti to display their new kits at the National Youth Games.

Ekiti had to unveil their new kits at the Youth Games in Asaba, on Wednesday, in what was a reparation for their show of shame at the opening ceremony of the Games last Saturday, where viral pictures online showed their athletes during the march-past wearing different shades of pants and slippers on white T-shirts.

The show of shame at the Stephen Keshi Stadium did not go down well with the Ekiti State House of Assembly, which immediately launched an investigation into the kits scandal.

There are indications that today’s closing ceremony of the 7th National Youth Games might be low-key, following what an official described, yesterday, as poor funding by the Delta State government.

The official hinted that Governor Sheriff Oborevwori only released part of the money budgeted for Team Delta’s participation in the Games and that he had refused to listen to pleas from members of the LOC to release the balance.

“As we speak, the Governor has not released money for the LOC to settle officiating officials, pay hotel bills as well as caterers. We don’t even know how allowances for the athletes and their officials will be paid. Tomorrow (today) is the closing ceremony, and I doubt if the LOC will do something elaborate because there is no money. Some of the hotels threatened to throw out our guests on Wednesday evening, but our chairman (Tonobok Okowa) had to plead with them. Now, Okowa is very sick, and we just have to allow him to have proper rest,” the official stated.

Efforts to speak with officials of the government were unsuccessful. Contacted yesterday, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Festus Ahon said; “I am very busy now.”