Sport  |  Athletics  

Edo athletes grumble over delay in camping for sports festival

By Gowon Akpodonor |   28 February 2020   |   3:48 am  

Edo state athletes say they are not comfortable with the two weeks camping arrangement ahead of the 2020 National Sports Festival, which the state is hosting.

Edo 2020 Sports fiesta is expected to hold between March 20 and April 3.

Hundreds of the state athletes took to the streets a few days ago, protesting against what they termed ‘inadequate preparation’ for the festival.

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During the protest, the athletes blocked all access roads to the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium chanting solidarity songs. Before the protest on Monday, the athletes were said to have visited the Government House to lay their complaints but were allegedly ignored.

The Guardian learned that the state government has set a two-week camping arrangement for the athletes ahead of the fiesta.

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But some of the athletes who spoke with The Guardian yesterday described the two weeks camping arrangement as ‘poor.’

“We are hosting the National Sports Festival and the government and people of Edo State expect us to finish top. Going by our calculation, the two weeks arrangement means we will commence camping either on March 4 or 5. It has never happened before. We have hosted two editions of the National Sports Festival, Bendel ’81 and Edo 2002.

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During Edo 2002, we were in camp for over three months and our athletes finished on top of the medals table. Why is the government changing it now,” one of the athletes asked.

Another athlete said: “We want to host and win, but we are not preparing well. Two weeks of camping for a National Sports Festival is inadequate.”

Efforts to speak with members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the sports festival yesterday were unsuccessful.

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