Enugu State Director of Sports, Boniface Onovo, has hinted that the state is gearing up to participate at the “staggered” National Sports Festival scheduled to begin in Benin City, Edo state, from December 3, 2020.
Making this known to Sports Arena at the weekend, Onovo said the state athletes have been training ahead of the competition.
“Our athletes have been preparing and training seriously in all the events we have earmarked for the national sports festival. “Even before the advent of COVID-19 pandemic issue which resulted in the postponement of the festival, Enugu state contingents had embarked on a 3 weeks intensive camping. Also, at the verge of government’s decision to release funds for the festival, it was postponed”. However, we have been training quietly irrespective of the lockdown and luckily the ease down on contact sports increased their temple of training”.
He also hinted that the state registered to take part in a total of 12 sports events but the approved the budget for the festival will determine the final number of events and athletes that will be in Benin.
“I can tell you that the state had earlier registered to participate in 12 events. But, the number of events and contingents will depend on the sum of money released for the festival by the government”. “But, we are expecting that government as usual will be supportive to ensure that Enugu has a good presence at Edo 2020”.
In addition, the Director has revealed plans not to approve any sports event for the festival based on sentiment, promising that athletes and coaches that will make the final list will be those that have national standards to compete favourably for medals.
“We will not take any sports based on sentiments. We must ensure that the athletes and the coaches are of national standard for us to be able to make positive impact among the sports we will be competing in at the festival”.
To this end, the Director of Sports revealed that the state government will not engage in wasteful spending before and during the festival.
“Let me make it clear that it will not be business as usual because of the economic situation in the country”. “We will not allow anything like wasteful spending and as such any amount of money given to us will be well managed to ensure it is able to cater for the number of sports in terms of competition allowances so that no one will have any reason to complain”, Onovo concluded.