Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Hundreds of athletes at the ongoing 7th Kwara Sports Festival holding in Ilorin have protested against the N500 allowance being given to them by the organising committee of the festival.
The festival is being organised by the government 15 years after the last edition.
At least 1,234 athletes are currently participating at the competition in 26 games.
The event is currently holding at the Stadium Complex located along Taiwo Road, Ilorin and would come to an end on Saturday.
THISDAY checks revealed that the low attendance of athletes from the 16 local government councils of the state was because on the pittance allowances approved for the participants at the event.
One of the athletes complained against the poor allowance when the state governor, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq paid an unscheduled visit to the stadium.
“Your Excellency, the allowance of N500 being given to us is just too small. The money is not enough to do anything talk-less of taking care of our transportation needs sir,” the athlete revealed to the Governor who was equally taken aback by such sad news.
This development, THISDAY learnt created commotion amongst the Organising Committee members and some explanations are expected from those concerned with arranging the welfare of the athletes.
Speaking with sportswriters after the visit the state governor, Alhaji Abdulrasaq said that, he approved the resuscitation of the state annual sports festival as part of his belief in productive engagement of the youths to attain their full potentials..
AbdulRazaq, said such event would also help to promote talents and sportsmanship in the populace.
AbdulRazaq also said the administration plans to upgrade some facilities in the sports complex in the 2020 fiscal year, especially the indoor hall, to provide the right environment for local talents to thrive.
He added, “There will be renovation of the sports complex, investments in youth and sports. You will see a face-lift of the Indoor Sports Hall of the state stadium, a new squash court and renovation in all facets.
“It is a pity that we’ve allowed (sports) infrastructure to decay. But despite that we can see the zeal, commitment of the sportsmen and women as well as the officials. You can see that they want to participate in sports. So, we need to provide the enabling environment to do what they need to do.”
AbdulRazaq said Kwara looks forward to greater showings in the upcoming 20th National Sports Festival in Edo State, adding: “In fact, this is the good beginning. We are not going to hire athletes to represent the state.
“The home-grown talents will represent us. So, we’ll have a 10-year plan. We are not saying that we will be at the top of the medals table in Edo but gradually we will be the best.”