Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has assured Deltans that the State will successfully defend the National Sports Festival title at the 20th edition starting in Benin City, Edo State on March 22.
Speaking at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Wednesday shortly after receiving the festival’s Torch of Unity, Okowa said although he realized that Edo State was determined to host and win the national sports festival, Delta was also leaving no stone unturned to “storm Benin in Grand style” and ensure it maintains the winning streak as in previous editions.
“We’re going to Benin in grand style; we’re going to Benin to win laurels with”, Okowa assured Deltans, adding, “I believe, and I hope Delta State will continue to maintain a commanding and leading role in sports development in the country.”
Okowa who also pulled the curtain on the 2019/2020 edition of the Delta State School Sports Festival that Wednesday, describes the basic and post-primary schools as the foundation for sports development even in the advanced countries of the world.
The governor noted that his administration was revamping sports through discovery of talents at those levels as well as the development of sports facilities across the state.
Okowa while appreciating ‘the enthusiastic performance of the young athletes”, however, cautioned against all forms of malpractices from sports officials, teachers as well as the young athletes, noting that “sports is not a must-win affair,” they must make fairness in the spirit of sportsmanship their watchword.
The state’s Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Patrick Ukah, noted that the 2020 edition of Delta schools festival was the second since the revival of the annual event began under the Okowa administration.
Ukah expressed gladness that this year’s festival was an improvement over the previous edition because the challenges identified had been adequately addressed.
“Following our experience in the maiden edition, we have invented a number of innovations to further showcase the uniqueness of the of the festival,” Ukah disclosed, stressing sports like hockey and cricket were added to the list of game to be competed for honours.
He revealed that the festival mascot – Ogaga – depicts the ‘Stronger Delta’ vision of the Okowa administration.
Tagged “Greater Delta Games”, the festival comprises three categories namely Primary, Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary, with over 2,000 schools registering for participation in the games whose preliminaries began on January 27, 2020.