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Sports festival ends today as Edo swimmers suffer disqualification for dual registration

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[FILE] Team Delta during the opening ceremony of the 19th National Sports Festival in Abuja. Delta has the highest number of contingent of 585 athletes at the Games


• Dudu-Orumen Describes Officiating At Games Abysmal
Two female swimmers from Team Edo have been stripped of medals won and withdrawn from further participation at the 19th National Sports Festival, which ends today at the Abuja National Stadium.

The swimmers, Rachael Tonjor and Faith Edorodion, were penalised following their alleged involvement in double registration.
According to the Nigeria Aquatics Federation, there were concrete evidences that the swimmers received salaries from both Edo and Kano state governments.

The Guardian gathered that the swimmers are registered for the festival by Team Edo, and had featured in some events and won medals.Officials of Kano State where the swimmers are on contract staff did not take the issue lightly when they noticed the sudden desertion of the swimmers after they had renewed their contracts and allegedly paid their salaries to date, following which they lodged complaints with the Nigeria Aquatics Federation.

The matter was referred to the Festival Games Services, which, after thorough investigation, ruled that the swimmers were culpable of the offence of double registration, and should be withdrawn forthwith from further participation and medals won be withdrawn.

While the matter was still being looked into by the Games Services, the Edo State deputy Governor, Phillip Shuaibu, during his visit to the state’s contingent at the festival, was at the swimming complex where he was informed about the issue involving his swimmers and promised to resolve it.

It was understood that his meeting with the Chairman, Kano State Sports Council, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima did not yield the desired result.

President Nigeria Aquatics Federation (NAF), Babatunde Fatayi-Williams told The Guardian that the disqualification of the swimmers was in line with the aquatics eligibility rules and regulations citing Rule 7(4), which in part states that: “Dual registration shall attract automatic disqualification.”

Fatayi-Williams, however, said the punishment for the alleged offence was not fully applied, pointing out that, the state government of the swimmers ought to pay a fine of about N350,000 and the swimmers’ coaches also liable to fine of various sums.

“The moment the Games Services made its pronouncement on the matter, the swimmers involved were withdrawn forthwith and stripped of medals won,” Babatunde Fatayi-Williams said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Edo State Sports Commission (ESSC) Barrister Godwin Dudu-Orumen, has condemned what he described as atrocious officiating at the 19th edition of the festival.An angry Dudu-Orumen described the performances of the officials as unimpressive.

“Referees, umpires and judges have not been impressive at this Games. Their conduct has left a lot of questions unanswered and has certainly affected the quality of the festival. Now, I understand why fresh talents and other good sportsmen and women do not get to represent the country,” he said.


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