By Tunde Liadi in Asaba
Chairman, Delta State Sports Commission, Tonobok Okowa has predicted a tough battle for the state’s National Sports Festival title defence but noted that Team Delta would still emerge victorious.
Team Delta topped the medals table at the last National Sports Festival hosted by Edo State last year after winning 158 gold, 116 silver, and 110 bronze, while Team Edo, the host, came second with 129 gold, 104 silver and 108 bronze. Team Bayelsa finished a distant third with 56 gold, 55 silver, and 58 bronze.
The victory in Benin city is Team Delta’s 6th consecutive NSF triumph but Okowa who oversaw some of the momento victories said he foresaw a close contest because their surveillance team to competing states informed him that other states prepared adequately also.
Okowa who apologised for the little hiccups noticed pointed out that all challenges would be dealt with and that Delta was ready to host the best National Sports Festival ever.
The Delta Sports Commission boss said he was not surprised at the medals won by the state’s contingent thus far because the athletes were prepared for the competition but that he does not expect a landslide win of the previous editions with Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Lagos and Oyo started also in the race.
“So far so good I cannot really complain. Apart from little hiccups here and there which would be overcome, everything has been going on fine,” Okowa began in a chat with our correspondent.
“I don’t have any complaints. We just have to be on our toes to make sure people are happy. It is all about making people happy and relaxed in terms of security, accommodations and competition.
“We prepared well. While we were preparing for the hosting of the National Sports Festival, we were monitoring other states to see how well they are preparing. A lot of States prepared very well also. It is going to be stiff competition.
“As we are accumulating medals so also are other states. It is not solely about Delta but the entire contingents that are here. I want to believe the competition will be tough.”
Okowa opined that even though the competition would ensure new facilities are put in place but that he would love their guests to remember Delta State for their friendly disposition and being a good host.
“It is not about the facilities is it about the people. We are happy people. We accommodate our guests and want everyone to be happy. This is competition. We want to be very friendly with everybody. Even if we have some little issues here and there, let them be patient with us. We will immediately correct it.
“I want to remember us as being good friends of the masses,” he stressed.