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Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said he approved the resuscitation of the state annual sports festival as part of his belief in productive engagement of the youths to attain their full potentials.

The state is currently engrossed with excitement as contingents from across its 16 local governments participate in at least 26 games in the seventh Kwara State Sports Festival which was last held in 2005.

AbdulRazaq, who paid an unscheduled visit late Wednesday to the Kwara State Stadium Complex to watch some of the games, said such event would also help to promote talents and sportsmanship in the populace.

“The resuscitation of Kwara State Sports Festival hinges on the need to invest in the youths and sports. Hitherto, the state hired athletes to represent the state in festivals and we need to invest in ourselves and get the home-grown youths to take part in various sports events (nationwide and internationally),” he told reporters shortly after watching a photo finish (volleyball game) between Ilorin West and Offa.

AbdulRazaq also said the administration plans to upgrade some facilities in the sports complex in the 2020 fiscal year, especially the indoor hall, to provide the right environment for local talents to thrive.

“(There will be) renovation of the sports complex, investments in youth and sports. You will see a face-lift of the Indoor Sports Hall of the state stadium, a new squash court and renovation in all facets,” he said, offering insights into what the sector should expect in the 2020 budget that was passed on Wednesday.

“It is a pity that we’ve allowed (sports) infrastructure to decay. But despite that we can see the zeal, commitment of the sportsmen and women as well as the officials. You can see that they want to participate in sports. So, we need to provide the enabling environment to do what they need to do.”

AbdulRazaq said Kwara looks forward to greater showings in the upcoming 20th National Sports Festival in March in Edo State, adding: “In fact, this is the good beginning. We are not going to hire athletes to represent the state. The home-grown talents will represent us. So, we’ll have a 10 year plan. We are not saying that we will be at the top of the medals table in Edo but gradually we will be the best.”

The Governor had earlier met with members of the main organising committee of the festival in the indoor hall where he commended them for a good job.

He was received by top government officials, sports veterans and entrepreneurs including the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development Joanna Nnazua Kolo; Special Adviser on Sports and Youth Development Attahiru Ibrahim; Director of Sports Tunde Kazeem; Serah Adebooa Esan; Olusola Abubakar Sheu; ex-international Hameed Adio; Coach Bola Mogaji; Dr. Steve Olarinoye; Razaq Olorunmako; Ibrahim Bako; and Abimbola Agbeke Olaoye.

Nasarawa State’s Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Othman Bala-Adam has urged the state’s athletes to the 2020 National Sports Festival (NSF) North Central Zonal Prelims to make the state proud.

He gave the charge on Sunday in Lafia at a farewell ceremony for the 160-member contingent heading to Ilorin for the four-day elimination competition.

He said the athletes would do this by securing qualification for the festival by all fair means.

Zonal elimination competitions are slated for Tuesday to Friday ahead of 2020 NSF scheduled for Benin from March 22 to April 1.They are usually organised by the national sports federations of team events to select the best state teams that will represent the six geo-political zones at the main competition.

Speaking at the ceremony in Lafia, Bala-Adam said the Nasarawa state government was aware of the importance of the NSF and the opportunities associated with it for both state and athletes.

“Therefore, we must take the zonal elimination contest seriously and secure qualification in the various events for the 2020 NSF.

“I can assure you that success at the zonal elimination competition and the NSF main event will yield life-changing rewards for all athletes.

“Your success will promote the state as a hub of unique sports talents,’’ he said.

The commissioner assured them of surprising rewards if they secure qualification for the 2020 NSF in Edo.

“You must go there and showcase the brand of Nasarawa State and that brand is of excellence. That brand is of exceeding all possibilities we met on ground.

“I am very optimistic that with the kind of young men and women I have seen today, so eager to excel, perform and give results, I have no doubt in my mind that you will all do us proud.

“If you have a positive mindset, you will excel in whatever you do and I am very optimistic that this crop of athletes has a positive mindset towards winning.

“We will pray for you. But, beyond prayers, as a state we will surprise you. Give us results and we will give some incentives you never bargained for. This is a commitment from the government.

“We want all of you to go to Benin and I want you to hold me to my word that if you secure qualification, the state government will do something special for you,” he said.

Bala-Adam however cautioned the athletes to be good ambassadors of the state not just in their conduct on the pitch but also off the pitch of play.

Responding on behalf of the contingent, Sani Musa, Team Leader/Head Coach of state volleyball teams, assured that the contingent would perform excellently to qualify for the 2020 NSF.

“Shame will not come to Nasarawa State because we have resolved to put in our best when we get to Kwara,” he said.

The contingent is comprised of male football team, male handball team, male hockey team, male and female volleyball teams, and male and female basketball teams.

The contingent also had technical officials and administrative officials.

 

 

 

The seventh edition of Kwara Sports Festival, initially slated to hold between Jan. 5 and Jan. 12, has been rescheduled to hold from Jan. 27 to Feb. 1.

Chairman of the competition’s Main Organising Committee (MOC) Abdulquadir Akanbi disclosed in a statement on Saturday.

Akanbi, who is also the Permanent Secretary in the state’s Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, said athletes and officials were now expected to arrive for the competition on Jan. 25 while accreditation would take place on Jan. 26.

“The festival’s torch of unity, which was formerly slated to begin moving round the state on Monday, will now move round between Jan. 9 and Jan. 17,” he added.

President Buhari with Heavy Weight Champion Anthony Joshua during a meeting with Nigerians in the Diaspora Living in United Kingdom on 18th Jan 2020. 
President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday in London met with a select group of the Nigerian Community in the United Kingdom.  The President congratulated the current World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Anthony Joshua, who was the cynosure of all eyes during the meeting, on regaining his world championship belt, as well as putting Nigeria “on the world map again like Hogan Bassey.” On his part, Joshua, caused a stir as he prostrated fully as presented his belts to the President. The heavyweight champion pledged to “stand up for Nigeria anytime you need me.” See another photo from the event below

World boxing heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will soon present his belts to President Muhammadu Buhari, a presidential aide disclosed on Wednesday in Abuja.

Laolu Akande, the spokeperson for the Vice President, made the disclosure while briefing State House correspondents on behalf of the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare.

The briefing took place after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday in Abuja.

Akande however said the date for the presentation of the belts was yet to be fixed.

“The Minister of Sports announced that Anthony Joshua will be presenting his belts to the President in a matter of days.

“The Council members also expressed appreciation for the gift of books from the Vice President which has become an annual tradition,’’ he said.

Joshua, a Nigerian-British boxer, beat Mexican-American boxer Andy Ruiz Jr. through a unanimous points decision in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

The victory helped him to reclaim the IBF, WBO, WBA and IBO heavyweight world championship belts he lost to Ruiz Jr. in June.