Athletes from different parts of the country will arrive Asaba, the Delta State capital on Monday (today) and tomorrow ahead Wednesday’s opening ceremony of the 21st National Sports festival.
Delta won the bid to host the fiesta, which is Nigeria’s version of the Olympics Games, at the end of the last edition in Benin City, Edo State last year.
Since then, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who is the vice presidential candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party in next year’s election, had put several structures in place to actualise his dream of delivering the best-ever Games in the history of Nigerian sports.
Among the facilities built for the Games are two new indoor sports hall, a swimming pool, tartan tracks, and shooting range, all within the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, as well as a new hockey pitch at Okpanam.
New hostel facilities were also constructed at the NYSC camp at Issele-Uku and in schools within Asaba.
Co-chairman of the Games’ Local Organising Committee, Tonobok Okowa, affirmed that Delta was prepared to host the Games.
When asked about the level of preparation of the LOC, Okowa simply responded, “We are ready.”
A total of 11, 000 athletes will participate in Delta 2022 National Sports festival, which is about 2,000 more than the number that participated at the last edition held in Edo State.
Secretary of the Local Organising committee, Chris Anazia, said, “We are set to receive athletes from the various states on Monday and Tuesday. The opening ceremony will hold on Wednesday. I am sure the athletes, coaches and sports administrators will enjoy their stay in Delta. I wish everyone safe journey to Asaba. We are not just going to host a sports festival, but the best-ever in the history of the Games.”
Meanwhile, the festival’s Torch of Unity, which has been moving round the country, has arrived in Delta State. It will begin a tour around all the local government headquarters for chairmen and council officials to have a feel.
According to the Adviser to the LOC, Solomon Ogba, the Festival Torch of Unity will arrive in Asaba November 30, the day of the opening ceremony.
He said, “The flag hoisting ceremony for Delta 2022 National Sports festival will take place at 4pm on the day of the opening ceremony on November 30.”
The first event for Asaba 2022 will be cycling on Wednesday morning.