Edo athletes want early preparation for Sports Festival

• Clamour for Ebewele’s inclusion in Sports Commission
Determined to reclaim their position in the nation’s sports, some athletes in Edo State have called on the state governor, Godwin Obaseki to empower the Sports Commission to begin early preparation for the 19th National Sports Festival scheduled to hold in December in Abuja.

The athletes also want former sports commissioner, Brown Ebewele to be included in the newly formed Sports Commission to give it the breath it needs to revive the sector.

Obaseki recently named Godwin Dudu-Orumen as chairman of the Sports Commission, a decision that has been applauded by many sports followers across the country. But some athletes feel the newly-formed Sports Commission needs a man like Ebewele as its director-general to achieve results because of his wide knowledge in grassroots sports.

Those who spoke with The Guardian yesterday said Ebewele, who is currently a board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), has what it takes to lead Team Edo against any opposition at the fast approaching National Sports Festival in Abuja.

One of the athletes, Osamudiamen, a track and field specialist, said it would be an exercise in futility if Obaseki failed to heed to their call for Ebewele in the Sports Commission.

“We actually want him (Ebewele) as the Director General of the Sports Commission because of his wide knowledge and never-say-die attitude in sports.”

Speaking further, Osamudiamen recalls: “At Bauchi 2000 National Sports Festival, Ebewele pitched his tent with Team Delta as Technical Adviser to their athletics team, when our former governor, Lucky Igbinedion refused to look at his direction. It proved to be a costly mistake, as Delta claimed all available medals in athletics. We lost out. But when Igbinedion decided to bring Ebewele as Director of the Sports Council, everything went smoothly for us during Edo 2002 National Sports Festival. He also did his best as Sports Commissioner, but we narrowly lost the number one position to Delta at Abuja 2004. We need him in the Sports Commission to reposition things as we prepare for Abuja 2018.”

Another athlete, Obahor, a wrestler said: “Ebewele knows how to push the athletes to achieve results. He may have his bad side though, but we need him urgently. We need to commence preparation immediately.”

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