By Kayode Adebiyi
Delta, Rivers and Edo, all in South South, outshined other states in the federation, carting away medals in the just concluded 19th National Sports Festival (NSF) held in Abuja.
At the end of the event on Sunday, Delta went home with 164 gold, 87 silver and 101 bronze medals, topping the overall medals table.
Rivers finished as first runners-up with 69 gold, 58 silver and 67 bronze medals, while Edo came third with 47 gold, 41 silver and 53 bronze medals.
At the closing, FCT Minister Muhammad Bello the impact of the 19th NSF would manifest in years to come.
“This festival has shown that we have the capacity to overcome any odd. I am positive that the impact of this festival will manifest in years to come,” he said.
The minister who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Chinyeaka Ohaa, also thanked the Youths and Sports Development Minister, Solomon Dalung, for breaking the jinx of hosting the competition.
He said hosting the festival in spite of various challenges was impressive, as there was no reported case of any major security incidence throughout the 10-day event.
Also speaking at the event, President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Habu Gumel, said the NSF was a symbol of Nigeria’s national unity.
“The NSF has grown to become a symbol of our national unity and I thank the FCT Minister and Sports Minister for taking the bull by the horns to host this festival.
“It is however important that there are follow-up actions for the talents discovered at this event,” he said.
One of the highlights of the closing ceremony was a callisthenic display by students of the Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) Dutse and Bwari in the FCT.
Similar to their performance during the opening ceremony on Dec. 6, Sunday’s performance was one which captivated the audience at the stadium.
The trophies were presented to states which finished first, second and third on the medals table.
There were also performances by musicians, including CDQ, Funbi, Dice Ailes, Small Doctor, Skeles and Sheyi Shey.
The festival was finally brought to a close with amazing firework which set the stadium and its environs aglow with minutes.