Minister of Youth and Sport Development, Barrister Solomon Dalung has disclosed that Nigeria has won over 700 medals in various sporting activities in the last three and half years of his stewardship.
“In the past three years, I took over as the sport administrator of the country, Nigeria has been able to win over 700 medals in various sporting competition that we participated, and this is quite historic,” he said.
Dalung called on state governors to change their attitude towards sport development in the country by making adequate budgetary provisions for athletes in any sport tournament to ease the task of funding on athletes and officials.
He said the experience of some sport directors during the 19th National Sport Festival in Abuja was very pathetic as most of them had to travel to Abuja with the hope that that money would come but in the end had to organised an emergency fund raising to raise money before they could organised their athletes to participate in the festival.
“I am still going back to National Economic Council to address the governors on sport development in the country. If you bring high blood pressure testing machine here, most of the sport directors will have high blood pressure not because of their problem but because of the athletes under their care during competition.
“During the Abuja National Sport Festival, a sport director came with a contingent to compete in women sport, they didn’t have money and accommodation, they were sleeping under the stair case of the stadium and the team eventually won bronze,” he said.
He added that the irony of the situation was that upon returning from the competition, the state government rolled out drums to welcome them.
Consequently, Dalung advised that it is time we move to the next level by doing the right thing through the development of sport and proper budget for participation.
The minister therefore commended the Edo State government for winning the hosting right for the 20th edition of the National Sport Festival and putting facilities on ground for the successful hosting of the competition.
On his part, the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, said his administration put lots of premium in sport as part of measures to drive its economy.
He said the government is building a mini stadium across the 18 local governments of the state in realisation that there cannot be improvement in sport without facilities on ground.
“Since we got the hosting right, we have commenced the rebuilding of the Ogbe Stadium, including sporting facilities inside, building hostels accommodation among others. We want to host the best national sport competition ever in the country,” Obaseki said.
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