Sports

7,227 athletes battle for medals as 19th National Sports Festival begins

No fewer than 7,227 athletes will be vying for medals at the 19th edition of the National Sports Festival which begins today (Thursday) in Abuja.

The athletes are drawn from 35 states, excluding Ebonyi State, and will feature in 37 sports.

Ebonyi will not participate at the festival because they were deeply involved in the 1st Ebonyi Governor’s Para-Military Games 2018, according to reports.

The last edition of the National Sports Festival was hosted by Lagos in 2012 and Delta State won the most medals.

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Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has already announced big incentive in his quest to ensuring that the champions retain their title.

The governor told Team Delta that they will earn the sum of N1million for every gold won in Abuja.

A breakdown of the participants in the Games includes 7,227 athletes, 710 coaches, 322 other team officials, and 602 state delegates.

The National Sports Festival was initially scheduled to be hosted by Cross River State but the hosting rights withdrawn due to the state’s unpreparedness, which had stalled the hosting of the games for 5 years.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to be part of the opening ceremony of the 19th National Sports Festival at the National Stadium, Abuja.

 

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Ben Ugbana