Delta State has taken the lead in the ongoing 20th National Sports Festival. The event will end today.
As of the time of filing this report, Team Delta top the table with 124 gold, 91 silver and 83 bronze, with Team Edo second with 103 gold, 97 silver and 85 bronze. Team Bayelsa are third with 48 gold, 42 silver and 49 bronze.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Team Delta are set to be named champions of the national sport’s showpiece for a record sixth consecutive time.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is expected to declare the Edo 2020 Sports Festival close today, with the closing ceremony set to take place at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.
Osinbanjo was expected to declare the festival open on April 6, but was unable to attend the opening ceremony after his flight was diverted due to bad weather.
According to a statement signed by the Project Manager, Media and Communications, Edo 2020, Musa Ebomhiana, the event will last for three hours, from 6pm to 9pm, with Osinbajo declaring the Games closed, after which the Torch of Unity, which was lit at the start of the Games, would be extinguished.
The only sporting events scheduled for today are the mixed relays, 4x100m and 4x400m for men and women.
Three artists, namely Franchize, Joeboy and Teni have been lined up to spice up the closing ceremony, as well as a parade by athletes.
Chiamaka Ogekwe, a gymnastics bronze medallist for Team Bauchi, said, “I’m very happy because I won a medal, it has been a great experience for me, thanks to my coaches and teammates. I want to say a big thank you to them all and the people of Benin.”
Williams Chidinma of Team Lagos said, “Benin City is a very nice place and it’s been cool coming here. I really enjoyed my stay here, apart from the food, which I didn’t really enjoy. Every other thing was cool.”
The festival will linger in the memory of the country’s sports faithful in a long time to come, following some dazzling and unlikely displays at the event.
Bayelsa swimmer Ifiaezibe Gagbe claimed an amazing 15 medals at the event, while Aminat Idrees defied an eight-month pregnancy to win the Taekwondo Poomsae event.
Edo Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, Chairman Local Organising Committee of the event, is also a proud gold medalist of the NSF, after helping Edo beat Lagos in the men’s football final.
There were also unpleasant scenes at the event, as Lagos women’s football team and their fans protested their final 1-0 defeat to hosts Edo, while Team Ogun also rejected the result of the fight between their boxer Kasali Abayomi and Lagos boxer, Shittu Afolabi.