Obaseki, Edo steal show at 2022 festival opening

•Team Oyo, Taraba absent from ceremony

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his wife Betsy, were the highlight of the colourful opening ceremony of the 2022 National Sports Festival as they led Team Edo’s contingent inside the mainbowl of the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, the Delta State capital, on Wednesday.

The Obasekis wore the red colour of their state’s contingent alongside Team Edo’s athletes and officials on the brand new tartan tracks, and were cheered with an ovation from fans at the packed stadium.

The fans also rose to their feet, applauding the regal entrance of the duo.

None of the states contingent before and after Team Edo could live up to the standard set by the last hosts of the festival, but they all put up fantastic performances, except Oyo and Taraba states, who were noticeably absent from the presentation ceremony.

Tagged the ‘African Olympics’ by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, the 21st festival announced itself with much celebration and excitement.

The mainbowl of the Stephen Keshi Stadium  was filled to capacity, with indigenes of Delta and visitors, for the much-anticipated event.

Sports minister Sunday Dare, who represented the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)  declared the festival opened.

“It is my pleasure to be at today’s (Wednesday’s) ceremony, which is another hallmark achievement of this administration in the area of sports development for the country.

“The National Sports Festival has been the nursery and breeding ground of some of the legendary names in our sports history,” Dare said.

He added, “Over the years, the festival has become one of our most significant national events, which advanced the socio-cultural integration of our country.

“I wish to admonish all our athletes to compete fairly and shun all forms of anti-social behaviour and also stay away from the use of performance-enhancing substances.”

Delta State Governor Ifeanyi  Okowa welcomed the dignitaries, states contingents and visitors to Asaba for the festival.

“The National Sports Festival is where the people get to showcase their talents and it breeds unity among everyone,” Okowa stated at the opening ceremony.

“The level of competition increases with every edition of the tournament and to all the athletes, congratulations on making it here to the 21st National syports Festival. This is the moment you have been waiting for. All the time you have spent in training and preparation has all led you to this stage.

“Delta State is pleased to welcome you all here for the festival and I encourage the athletes to present a fair display in the competition.”

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