No Plans to Move National Sports Festival to Abuja, Says LOC Chairman

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By Adibe Emenyonu

Edo State Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 20th National Sports Festival, has refuted insinuations in some quarters that the sports fiesta, tagged Edo 2020, will be moved to the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.

Shaibu who was led by the Director of Facilities, Edo State Sports Commission, Victor Edokpayi, to inspect facilities for the sports festival, reassured stakeholders that the state was ready to host the Games, scheduled to kickoff on April 2, 2020.

The deputy governor also visited Team Edo at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium where the athletes were being tested and vaccinated against coronavirus (Covid-19), ahead of the Games opening ceremony.

During the visit, Shaibu said: “The rumours that the Federal Ministry of Sports wants to take the games from Edo to Abuja is not true as the minister and the permanent secretary have denied it.

“I spoke with the minister who said he didn’t release any statement of such, likewise the permanent secretary. Edo State is hosting for the love of the nation and national interest to help our athletes shape up to win at the Tokyo Olympics games,” Shaibu reiterated.

On the state’s readiness to host the competition, he noted: “We are hopeful that the games will go on but only to the extent that we are funded. We are ready. We have gone round the facilities because we believe that we will be funded; that is why the competition equipment is being unveiled and installed.

“The equipment for Edo 2020 are the latest sporting equipment and the type they will meet in the Tokyo Olympics, which is why the contingents will be camping in Edo. We are ready,” concluded the Edo State deputy CEO.

He said the state has concluded vaccination of Edo athletes and they are now going through PCR screening for Covid-19.

Addressing the state’s athletes, Shaibu maintained: “We are hosting to win and we must win clean without using drugs or cheats. We trust you and know you will make us proud: we will not do anything to give us a bad name. Our junior brothers, Delta State are already boasting that they will win; we will tell them that we are their senior brothers and will clinch the most gold medals to win the game.”

Facilities inspected include those for Wrestling, Boxing, Gymnastics, Judo, Kung fu, Karate and Swimming; Lawn Tennis Court; Basketball facilities at wire road; Storage facility; LOC Secretariat Staff office; Office of the Secretary General of LOC; Conference Hall for Press conferences and Indoor Sports Hall in Etete, among others.