Athletes regret bad accommodation and blackout at sports festival

•We gave money to visiting teams to buy fuel –Okowa

With more than 14,000 athletes competing in the 21st National Sports Festival underway in Asaba, Delta state, some Games participants have raised concerns about accommodation, electricity and transportation arrangements at the event dubbed the “Nigerian Olympics”. .

There were concerns about whether Delta would be able to host the largest number of participants in the national event, as scheduled, but the state completed facilities for the event in record time, much to the admiration of sports minister Sunday Dare and game-loving Nigerians. sports. .

However, in separate conversations with our correspondent, some of the participants lamented the poor disposition on land for their contingents.

The Osun Para team’s table tennis coach, Adigun Mutiu, said he had high expectations before the trip to Asaba, but confessed that he was now disappointed by its arrival.

“Our expectation is that Asaba will give us the best festival experience, but accommodation has been a big challenge since we arrived. Can you imagine that we don’t have light and water (in our camp)?

“Some of us from Osun, we feel really bad about that. We are not supposed to go without these basic amenities for a day. So far we have not seen shuttle buses to facilitate transportation either, ”he said.

Imo State’s Margaret Chidi, a Para-athlete, reiterated Mutiu’s concerns.

“The festival has been good, but the only challenge we have is that the special athletes were not given friendly facilities,” he said.

A taekwondo athlete, speaking on condition of anonymity, also told our correspondent about the unrest at the former National Youth Service Corps camp.

“There is no electricity and there are no plugs in the rooms where we are camped,” he said.

“The restrooms are unisex and male athletes have been entering the restroom without caution, which is embarrassing. There is also not enough water for all of us to bathe. Again, those who are late for the bathroom are not allowed to shower.”

However, another para table tennis coach, Ilesanmi Olatunji from Ondo State, said he was happy with the facilities at his camp.

“The accommodation is fine and the organization has been fantastic. My personal goal here is to win gold for my state in Para-table tennis,” she said.

Our correspondent reached out to the chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission, Tonobok Okowa, who addressed the issues raised by the athletes.

“As for transportation, some athletes are delayed when they are supposed to leave their hostel and when others leave them behind, they start to complain. There is time for everything, the buses are there lined up for them and if you miss the first one you have to wait for another one, then there is no shortage of transport at all, they just need to be disciplined,” Okowa said. .

“The issue of athletes sharing bathrooms and toilets, I don’t know. You will need your team captains to make these reports and tell me where they are.

“We gave the leaders of several teams the money to buy fuel for their shelters, to deal with electricity and water pumping, but we found out that they were not receiving the fuel. Leaders must be held accountable because they have been given money, no one should give that complaint anymore,” Okowa added.

He promised that they would address any issues brought to the attention of the organizers of the Games and assured the athletes that they would improve.

“We have been managing the crisis and I am sure that the athletes are now in a better condition,” he said.

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