Nigeria’s latest sports destination Edo State and host of the last National Sports Festival dream of winning the ongoing National Sports Festival in Asaba, Delta State, or at least finishing in the top three may be realized going by the state contingent performances in the last 24 hours.
Edo State which hitherto occupied the seventh position has now moved to the second position on the table because of her athletes’ medal haul on Tuesday, especially in athletics.
Edo medals in athletics were won by the likes of Prior Ochonogor, who won gold in men’s 400m hurdles, Olero Tina Samson in the heptathlon, Charity Agofure Steeplechase, Bamidele Elegbede Race Walk and Aruya Hope High Jump women.
Meanwhile, some sports aficionados at the festival have blamed the shenanigan of officiating officials from the Federal Ministry of Sports for many states losing faith in the festival and the ability of most of the officials to be impartial.
They revealed that the most shocking thing in the ongoing festival is that some officials from competing states who are supposed to protect the interest of their state are even working against their states because of pecuniary gains.
“The Sports Ministry and the Sports Federations managing events here are a scourge to sports and sportsmanship. The way they favour some states against others is appalling. Imagine an athlete who has trained for this for several months being disqualified for no just reason, it is very sad if the Director of Grassroots Sports in the Sports Ministry means well. He must sanction the officials involved in these unjust acts and make sure they do not officiate again.’’.
They revealed that what happened in the Dart event on Saturday was particularly shameful,
“When some states want to throw, there will be electricity, but when others want to throw, electricity will be turned off. If it happened once or twice we could blame it on technical fault but when it happened persistently to particular states, we all know it’s not a human error but cheating. This must stop to improve the credibility of the festival’’.
They observed that the organizers seem to have overcome the early challenges in terms of logistics but they want officiating to improve unless the whole festival will be a charade.