Delta state governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa (Ekwueme) has pledged that the state would raise the hosting bar of the National Sports Festival when the nation’s athletes converge in Asaba next year. Okowa who spoke through his commissioner, Patrick Ukah in Benin moments after the state was announced as the next host of the bi-annual festival said Delta would at home confirm that she is the home of sports in the country. Delta State had fought off competition from Ebonyi, Imo, Ogun, Kano and Kaduna to get the hosting right. Governor Okowa also congratulated Team Delta for retaining the National Sports Festival trophy after garnering 158 gold, 116 silver and 110 bronze medals to beat host Team Edo which won 129 gold, 104 silver and 108 bronze medals. Ukah described Team Delta’s triumph in Benin as a fallout of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s consistent investment in sports from the grassroots. He noted that Delta achieved the feat in spite of the absence of Team Delta’s elite athletes. He said this was possible because Governor Okowa had made sports compulsory in the Basic and Secondary Schools in the state. The Basic and Secondary Education Commissioner said that the feat of the young Athletes goes to show that Team Delta would remain at the top of Nigerian Sports for a long time. He congratulated the Team for making Deltans proud saying that it was the first time that the State will win a National Sports Festival that was hosted in the South-South zone.
SWAN charges Edo to maintain facilities
S portswriters Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has charged Edo to ensure that the world class sporting facilities it constructed for the just concluded National Sports Festival are maintained. SWAN in a release made available to Catholic Herald Sports commended Edo state government for putting in place state of the art facilities for the festival but was quick to add that maintaining the facilities is key now that the games are over…”SWAN Commends the Government of Edo State under the leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki for putting in place world class sporting infrastructure and calls for sustainable maintenance of the facilities,” the release stated in part. The sportswriters body also charged the federal ministry of Youth and sports to revisit the objectives of the festival with a view to ensuring that it remains an avenue to fast track national integration, talent discovery and sports development. “SWAN notes the need for the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to revisit the objectives of the National Sports Festival with a view to fast tracking national integration, talent discovery and sports development,” the release further stated.
Weightlifting: Coaches drum support for Iquaibom
Nigerian weightlifting coaches have vowed to ensure that a technocrat who understands the game is elected the next president of Nigeria Weightlifting Federation (NWF). To actualize this dream, the coaches said they would throw their weight behind Lawrence Iquaibom, the immediate past Akwa Ibom state director of Sports, who in his heyday as an athlete competed for the country at several international meets including the Olympics and Commonwealth games. The coaches who spoke through their chairman, Emeka Ajei during the just concluded Edo 2020 National Sports Festival said they would ensure that the era when persons who know next to nothing about the game led the weightlifting federation comes to an end. “We want a president that understands the game and Lawrence Iquaibom fits into that bill. He was one of the nation’s best lifters in his days, winning medals for the country at the Commonwealth games. He is educated and he has the contacts both at home and overseas to make weightlifting tick. This is why we have resolved to back him. We want to see him become the next president of Nigeria Weightlifting Federation (NWF),” Ajei said. He noted that weightlifting needs a president who would ensure there are regular competitions where new talents can be discovered, unlike the present situation where the nation’s weightlifters are idle year round.
Swimming: FINA unveils logo for World Championships
With less than eight months to go for the 15th edition of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Abu Dhabi (UAE), scheduled from December 16-21, 2021 the official logo of the competition was midweek unveiled in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The event’s trademark, which symbolises the past and present, is inspired by Abu Dhabi’s pearl diving heritage. It features a swimmer constructed from pearls who is powering through the water, which is representative of both the city’s proud history and the competitive nature of the Championships. Made up of 44 different swimming events, the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) will be held at the stateof-the-art Etihad Arena – the UAE’s largest multi-purpose indoor entertainment venue, which opened in 2020 and is located on Yas Island. The FINA World Aquatics Convention will also be hosted in the same facility, promising an Aquatic Festival in Abu Dhabi. Taking place from Thursday 16 – Tuesday 21 December 2021, the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) will showcase the very best swimmers of the planet, providing both local and international fans with the opportunity to watch top-quality competitive swimming action in the heart of Abu Dhabi. Originally scheduled for 2020, the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) had to be moved to December 2021 because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. FINA President Dr Julio C. Maglione delivered his confident expectation for a successful edition of the event: “The FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) will be a highlight of the 2021 sporting calendar, and we are thrilled to be able to bring the event to Abu Dhabi, one of the world’s fastest-growing sporting hubs. Having previously staged events such as the FINA High Diving World Cup and FINA Open Water Swim World Cup in Abu Dhabi, we know there is a huge interest for top-quality sporting action among the local community. We are extremely proud to give fans in Abu Dhabi and the UAE another major event to look forward to at the end of a big year for sport.” Local organisers also look forward to celebrating Aquatics in the best possible way in UAE. His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports said: “We are absolutely delighted to bring the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) to Abu Dhabi later this year. This is set to be a huge event for Yas Island, Abu Dhabi and the UAE, with over 1,000 of the most talented short-course swimmers from around the world, fresh from the Olympic Games in Tokyo, showcasing their abilities in what we expect to be an exciting competition. Abu Dhabi continues to showcase its ability to host largescale events while ensuring the safety of everybody in attendance in the land of tolerance and peace.” Sultan Al Samahi, President of UAE Swimming Federation, added: “Hosting events such as the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) plays a pivotal role in the progression and development of swimming across the UAE. We look forward to working with FINA and the LOC to ensure that this event creates a positive impact on our local athletes over the coming months, and hope that the whole country is ready to cheer on the Emirati athletes who will line up against the world’s best in December.