Delta constructs new indoor hall for sports festival

To give Nigerian youths the best facilities to display their talents at the 21st National Sports Festival, Delta State has commenced the construction of new facilities, including a new indoor sports hall for the Games.

Asaba 2022 Games will hold from November 2 to 15, 2022, one week to the kick off of Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup. A member of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the Games, Chief Solomon Ogba told The Guardian yesterday that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had began the process of turning around the Stephen Keshi Stadium in readiness for the Sports Festival.

“The first step has been taken,” Ogba said. “We are constructing a world-standard multi purpose Indoor Sports Hall that can accommodate 19 indoor events except boxing. We had an exiting indoor sports hall, but the government is constructing a brand new one within the stadium complex,” he stated.

According to Ogba, a former Sports Commissioner, who led Team Delta to win the sports festival on three occasions (Bauchi 2000, Abuja 2004 and Gateway 2006) under Governor James Ibori’s administration, two buildings, which were formally used as shooting range and gymnasium, were pulled down for the new indoor sports hall.

He added that the old indoor sports hall would be given a facelift to host some other events. On hostels facilities for the athletes, Ogba said: “We have two approach as far as hostel for the Games is concerned. We have school hostels that can accommodate 12,500 athletes, and we are looking at providing additional accommodation for the rest people because we are targeting 16,000 athletes.”

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Nilayo Sports Management, Bukola Olopade, a member of the LOC, has said that Asaba 2022 Sports Festival would be the best ever, going by the number of sponsors already jostling to be part of the Games.

“The National Sports Festival is the best and biggest property in Nigeria sports, and we must ensure that the various corporate organisations operating in the country see it from that angle,” Olopade told The Guardian yesterday from his base in the United Kingdom.

Speaking further, Olopade, whose tenure as sports commissioner in Ogun State saw the hosting of the Gateway Games in 2006, said: “We (Nilayo Sports) already had a lot of interest from various sponsors who want to be part of Asaba 2022 Sports Festival. We have entered into partnership with some, and we will be signing agreement with others very soon.”

Asked if Nilayo Sports was given any financial target to meet by Delta State government, Olopade said: “At Nilayo Sports, we don’t operate on target. We just go out and ensure the job is done properly, and I am sure by the time we unveil identities of sponsors we are assembling for Asaba 2022 Sports Festival, Nigerians will be satisfied.”(The Guardian)

•PHOTO: Chief Solomon Ogba