National Sports Festival suffers another postponement

Hopes of hundreds of athletes and officials gearing to compete at the 20th National Sports Festival billed to take place in Edo State have been dashed again.

Just when many thought in a few days’ the multi-sports event will get underway, another new date has been announced by the Sports Minister Sunday Dare.

It is more than three times now that the 20th National Sports Festival has suffered all kinds of postponements.

This latest decision to postpone the games was reached after a meeting of the council for sports with Mr Sunday Dare, on Monday.

The Sports Festival was most recently rescheduled for February 14-28, but the multi-sports events fondly referred to as Nigeria’s version of the Olympics is now billed to take place on a later date in April 2021.

Mr Dare explained on Monday that the second wave of the pandemic necessitated the latest postponement.

He, however, gave assurances that the Festival will indeed hold since it is considered as an important feature on the country’s sporting calendar whilst also citing the fact that 2021 is also an Olympic year.

“Even though Edo State is prepared with the sporting facilities in place, we are mindful of COVID-19 second wave. So, it has been decided that though the sports festival will still hold, it will no longer start this 14th of February, a futuristic date in the month of April will be announced,” the Minister added.

Before Monday’s announcement, the host, Edo State, had complained of a lack of funds because of the impact of the pandemic, although the Federal Government promised to bear some of the financial burden in hosting the multi-sports event.

The last National Sports Festival was held in Abuja in 2018 after the original host Cross River failed to host the event after several postponements.

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