In the next 12 days, the attention of sports-loving Nigerians will focus on Delta State, the venue of the 21st National Sports Festival.
As at yesterday evening, the contingent from Lagos, Niger, Imo, Gombe, Katsina, Sokoto and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had already arrived in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
The flag hoisting ceremony for the Festival will hold at 4.00 p.m. today ahead of Wednesday’s opening ceremony slated for the Stephen Keshi Stadium.
A majority of athletes, who arrived in Asaba yesterday, were thrilled by the quality of facilities provided by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the Games.
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In his bid to host the best-ever National Sports Festival, Governor Okowa, who is the vice presidential candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election, ordered that a new tartan track be installed for Nigerian athletes to showcase their talent. The tartan track in Asaba Stadium is the first of its kind in Africa.
Other facilities build for Delta 2022 Games are two brand new indoor sports halls, a new swimming pool and a new shooting range, all within the Stephen Keshi Stadium, as well as a new hockey pitch at Okpanam.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has expressed his optimism that budding talents will be discovered during the festival.
In a statement signed by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Mohammed Manga, Dare said the new sets of athletes will emerge and will compete favourably with their counterparts globally.