Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa yesterday paid out cash rewards worth more than N403 million to athletes, who won the 19th National Sports Festival, tagged Abuja 2018 for the state.
At a colourful event attended by the athletes, sports officials, members of their families, wife of the governor, Dame Edith and sports lovers at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, the governor also rewarded medallists at the 2018 National Youth Games, which took place at Ilorin, Kwara State.
The Guardian recalls that Delta State won the National Sports Festival with 163 gold, 88 silver and 101 bronze medals (352 medals) to beat its closest rival, Rivers State, which had 194 medals.
“Great Delta athletes, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, today’s event is very special to me because I have the privilege of being able to fulfill my promise to reward not only the medalists, but everyone who represented our dear State,” the governor said, adding, “I therefore wish to reassure our young people, especially those with talents, that the State government will continue to encourage sportsmen and women.”
The governor on the spot offered scholarship to Miss Precious Okafor to the University levels as she competed and won medals at the National Youth Games despite losing her mother.
The breakdown of the rewards shows that National Sports Festival gold medalists got N1 million, silver medalists, N500, 000 and bronze medalists, N250, 000, while medalists at the National Youth Games got N100, 000 for gold, N75, 000 for silver and N50, 000 for bronze medals.
In his reaction, the team leader, Mr. Ifekachukwu Paul thanked Governor Okowa for keeping to his promise of rewarding the athletes with cash gifts, observing that the governor had provided first class sporting facilities in the state and encouraged the athletes to bring out their best.He assured Okowa that Team Delta would win more laurels in future sporting events.
Speaking earlier at the reception, Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission, Mr. Tonobok Okowa thanked Governor Okowa for inspiring Delta athletes to victory, noting that Team Delta spends more than two weeks in camps before any competition.