L-R: Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, Chairman, Delta Sports Commission, Amaju Pinnick and President of National Association for Physical, Health Education, Recreation Sports and Dance (NAPHER-SD), Professor Emmanuel Ojeme having a tete-a-tete at the Sports Summit in Asaba Tuesday
Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, on Tuesday called for an open system for the National Sports Festival in the country.
Uduaghan was speaking at the one-day Delta Sports Summit titled “Developing the Nigerian sport potential.”
The governor stressed that it was better for the country to have her elite sports meet open to all Nigerians all over the world every year.
“The sports festival should be an event we look up to yearly and not the All Nigeria Track and Field Championships. If it is open every athlete will prepare for it and ensure they make a statement during the event. What we have now is almost a jamboree whereby the athlete there or the standard attained is not a true reflection of the potential the country can boast of.
“Sports festival will be more competitive and interesting if it is open to all. It will also afford our children the opportunity to know our great athletes at a close range,” he noted.
Uduaghan stressed that the event was not a national event competing with the similar one held in Abuja last week but purely for the state to develop its athletes to national and international stars.
The summit was well-attended with the Jamaican athletics coach, Bertland Cameron and South African Rowing coach, Roger Barrow, as speakers.
A former international, Chief Adokie Amiesimaka, Olympic 4x400m gold medallist, Eniofok Udo-Obong, Prof. Emmanuel Ojeme, Mr Paul Bassey, Ejiro Omonode, and Ikeddy Iziguzo also presented papers at the event which also had a three work sessions.
Uduobong called for a better funding of sports and wondered why Nigeria spent N2.8bn on London Olympic Games while Great Britain that spent N68.9billion won 67 medals.
Governor Uduaghan later presented a cheque of $20,000 to Delta swimmer, Samson Opuakpo for his gallant efforts at London 2012. The governor was reporter to have also given an undisclosed sum of money to Nigeria’s women’s long jump and sprint champion, Blessing Okagbare as take off grant to help her begin preparations for the next World Championships holding next year.