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Okowa promises ‘best ever’ sports festival in 2022

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Victorious team gets rousing welcome in Asaba
• Dare explains the choice of Delta as the next host

Victorious Team Delta was given a rousing welcome in Asaba, the state capital, yesterday, a day after topping the medals table at the 20th National Sports Festival tagged Edo 2020.

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Apart from emerging champions in Benin City on Wednesday, Delta State was also awarded the hosting right for the 2022 edition of the sports festival, beating five other states, Ebonyi, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, and Ogun in the bidding process.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has assured that Delta State will host the ‘best ever’ sports festival that will remain memorable for Nigerians in many years to come.

Speaking while receiving the flag of the National Sports Festival as the next host from the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Nebolisa Anako, Okowa said Nigerian youths, officials, and journalists, who will participate in the 2022 edition, will leave Asaba with great memories of the fiesta.

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Governor Okowa, represented by Delta State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Chief Patrick Ukah, said the state has shown over the years that it is the hub of sports and getting the nod to host the 2022 edition was a welcome development.

Earlier on Wednesday, Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare, explained the reason the Council on Sports chose Delta State for the 2022 edition of the National Sports Festival.

In announcing the host state, Dare said: “I am glad to note that the Federal Government received bids to host the 21st edition of the National Sports Festival in 2022 from six states, namely, Delta, Ebonyi, Imo, Kaduna, Kano and Ogun.
 
“Following the evaluation of the bids and the physical visitation to the prospective states, I hereby announce Delta State as the next host for the National Sports Festival in 2022.

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“I congratulate the government and people of Delta State for emerging the preferred state and wish them best of luck in the organisation of the 21st National Sports Festival.”

The victory in Benin City on Wednesday was the second triumph for Team Delta under Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration after topping the medals table at Abuja 2018.

On arrival in Asaba yesterday, Team Delta athletes, coaches, and accompanying officials were given rousing cheers by the people, including school children, market women, and civil servants, who lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the contingent.

Speaking with The Guardian, Chief Solomon Ogba, who played a huge role in the victory, described Edo 2020 fiesta as wonderful. “Team Delta led the medals table from day one because we wanted to avoid the mistake of what happened in 2002. Though there were some manipulations by some states along the line, we were able to hold our own. I must commend our athletes, coaches, and other Delta officials for the wonderful job. I thank the governor for the huge support he gave to Team Delta,” Ogba stated.

Chairman, Delta Sports Commission, Tony Okowa, was excited by the reception accorded his team. He described the victory at Edo 2020 as a result of hard work.

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