The 20th edition of the National Sports Festival in Edo state might have come and gone but the experiences garnered by athletes and officials still linger.
According to the Team Ekiti who were hosted by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) Ekiti state chapter during the ROUNDTABLE interactive session at the Oluyemi Kayode stadium in Ado, the state governor , Dr Kayode Fayemi had surpassed the records by previous governors in the area of funding of sports especially money released for the prosecution of the National Sports Festival 2020.
The coaches and athletes noted that the determination and commitment of Team Ekiti was enviable as they defied all odds to fight and win medals for the state adding that they would have won more laurels if the sports authorities had prioritized their welfare.
The athletes recounted the alleged ugly situations they went through while in Edo state as a result of lack of vehicles to transport them to and from venues of various events, delay in payment of their allowances and absence of management staff during key sporting contests.
They noted that the state sports authorities should show more affection and care before and during sports tournaments saying such was lacking and it affected them psychologically during the recently concluded National Sports Festival in Eso state.
The coaches who hailed the athletes who went all out to win medals for the state said the allowances given to them and the athletes were too paltry compared to what their contemporaries from other states got at the Sports fiesta.
The coaches sounded a note of warning that many of the athletes who did well at Edo 2020 could be lured to other states if adequate measures and motivation were lacking .
The coaches and athletes who unanimously praised governor Fayemi for the financial support prior and during the National Sports Festival however pleaded for the provision of sports equipment for them to train.
While promising to always be worthy ambassadors of Ekiti state through sports, they stressed that lack of equipment deprived them the opportunity to sweep more medals despite their potentials .
Members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) who came from all media houses in Ekiti State gave kudos to Team Ekiti for defying the odds to win 2 gold, 3 silver and 8 bronze medals.
The sports journalists lauded Ekiti athletes who won medals in sports where they had no equipment despite contesting with athletes from states that had the financial resources and sports equipment .
SWAN also frowned at the impending danger posed by the weightlifting gym at the Oluyemi Kayode stadium in Ado and lack of facilities for gymnastics and boxing.
The association also urged the state government to invest more and pay more attention to sports which has taken many youth away from restiveness and social vices
The Ekiti State chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria-SWAN headed by Qozeem Oladapo urged the state government to host and honour the athletes who represented the state at Edo 2020 National Sports Festival adding that provision of scholarships and employment for the outstanding athletes were necessary to serve as motivation .
SWAN promised to focus more on local sports in its reportage and do all within it’s power to impact on sports developments without fear or favor.