Minister of Sports/ Chairman, National Sports Commission (NSC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi
To ensure that the ideal of the National Sports Festival is not defeated, Minister of Sports/ Chairman, National Sports Commission (NSC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has charged participating states to shun the idea of using established athletes sourced from other states to win laurels.
The NSC boss who spoke during the unveiling of the icons of the festival by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) further advised states to shift focus to producing their own athletes from the grassroots rather than relying on poaching ready-made athletes from other states.
“It is unfortunate that the festival is holding during the Olympics year and this is not supposed to be and I believe after Eko 2012, things will change. But I also want to plead with states to shun poaching because this alone will defeat the essence of the festival.
“The festival is meant to showcase athletes that have been trained and groomed by each state for them to be identified by the national coaches for national assignments,” he said.
Abdullahi was also optimistic that Lagos would surpass the feat achieved by Rivers State during the 17th edition of the championship in Port Harcourt last year.
Meanwhile, NSC’s Director General, Patrick Ekeji has charged states that are yet to enter for the zonal eliminations fixed for September to do so immediately to avoid last minute rush.
“The zonal eliminations will start from September 17. States that are yet to do so are enjoined to respond to the letters requesting for their entries as late registration will not be tolerated.”