BY MONICA IHEAKAM
Team Delta has emerged the overall winner of the 18th National Sports Festival tagged: EKO 2012, flooring all opponents with her overwhelming performance to top the medals table. Delta scooped an impressive haul of 116 gold, 99 Silver and 75 bronze medals totaling 288 medals to win the National Sports Festival for the 5th time and as well dethrone defending champion, Rivers State, who placed second with a total of 218 medals made up of 76 gold, 71 Silver and 70 bronze medals.
In the third position is the host, Lagos State, with 64 gold, 47 Silver and 71 bronze, totaling 182 medals.The EKO 2012 host was followed by the 2002 NSF host, EDO , despite her coming to the 18TH edition of the NSF without a sports commissioner, finished fourth with a distant 25 gold, 23 silver and 44 bronze medals, pooling 92 medals. Bayelsa State bidding for the 2016 games, finished fifth with 19 gold, 17 silver and 22 bronze medals which amounted to 58 medals.
With this overall result, Delta made it victory number five in the biggest sporting fiesta in the country. The’ Big Heart’ first won the festival title at the Bauchi 2000 edition of the games aided under the guide of the then Commissioner for Sports, Chief Solomon Ogba. She was dethroned at the Edo 2002 Games by host, but she bounced back to winning ways at the Abuja 2004 Games. Delta again won the title at the Kaduna 2009 edition, but failed to defend it at the Garden City Games where host, Rivers State, wrestled the crown from her.