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Porbeni attacks sports festival organisers over ‘poor’ selection of events

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‘No heptathlon, no decathlon’

For about five years, former Nigerian jumper, hurdler and sprinter, Seigha Porbeni, was the ‘commander-in-chief’ of Delta State Sports Council, leading the state teams to many national and international competitions.

He was appointed Director of Sports shortly after Delta State was created in 1991. In his active days as athlete, Porbeni was an all-rounder, competing in seven different sports. He was Nigeria’s first decathlete, and later, became a trained coach. It was Porbeni, who introduced combined events into Nigeria’s athletics, when the National Stadium, Lagos, was like Mecca of sports.

Now a sports consultant, Porbeni is unhappy with organisers of the ongoing 20th National Sports Festival tagged Edo 2020 over what he described as ‘poor selection’ of events.

“The poor selection of events by the organisers has deprived so many athletes and coaches the chance of displaying their talent at this sports festival,” an angry Porbeni told The Guardian.

“For the 100m, 200m and 400m event, each state was allowed to send three entries. But in other athletics events like 800m, 1,500m, 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 only one entry is allowed.

Porbeni continued: “In the throws (shot put, discuss, hammer and javelin), only one entry per state. The same one entry is given for the jumps (high jump, triple jump and pole volte). No heptathlon and no decathlon event at Edo 2020 National Sports Festival.

This is an Olympic year, and Nigeria wants to win Africa. We are going backward because in our days, the organisers allowed every state to present their best athletes in all events. Depriving some athletes and their coaches from taking part in their own Olympics Games is bad for Nigerian sports.”

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