Hosts Edo will register 689 athletes and 236 officials for the 20th National Sports Festival, which holds in Benin City, the state capital, from April 2 to 14, The PUNCH reports.
Addressing journalists at the Government House on Monday, Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, who doubles as the Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the festival, said the reduction of athletes and officials, as well as the scrapping of the opening and closing ceremonies would not deprive the event of its glamour.
He assured that the state would organise a befitting festival with world-class facilities, including the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, which boasts the latest track, same type that would be used at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The Deputy Governor also urged the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to release funds meant for the event in good time to help finalise it’s preparations for the event.
He said, “I can assure you that Edo State is prepared. Our track is of the latest technology, the same that would be used in Tokyo. Though the opening and closing ceremonies will not hold, I can assure you that the competition will be one of the best organised.
“Our athletes have been involved in series of trainings and games to keep them fit and I can assure you that we are hosting to win. I will also call on the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to release needed funds in record time.”