By MADUABUCHI KALU
As the 18th National Sports Festival comes to a close today, Lagos State is counting its blessings. The state Commissioner for Sports, Mr Enitan Oshodi, has expressed happiness that the host state performed well.
In an interview with Sunday Sunsports at the Swimming Pool Section of the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Friday, Enitan said that considering the performance of the state in the past three editions of the games, the third position, which the state is occupying in the Eko 2012 Games was satisfactory, especially considering the fact that the athletes that represented the state were youngsters.
He expressed confidence that in the next edition of the National Sports Festival in Calabar, Lagos would give Delta and Rivers States a good fight. He revealed that Lagos has mapped out programmes that would keep its athletes busy in preparation from the time Eko 2012 ended till the festival in Calabar. He revealed that the state has placed the athletes on allowances to enable them remain focused, even as the ones in schools have nothing to worry about, as they have been offered scholarships.
“For me, considering our positions in the last three or four festivals, I think that the third position Lagos is occupying now is an exceptional performance. One should also take into consideration the average age of our young team. We have a lot of first timers that represented Lagos at the festival. So, we have done very well in all the events.
“We worked very hard, especially in the team sports. We reached the semi-finals and finals of volleyball and football. And I think that the support His Excellency, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, has been giving to sports in the last three years has started to yield fruits.
With the development, Lagos will challenge Delta and Rivers States comfortably in Calabar during the next festival,” Enitan said. Oshodi continued: “We have many programmes for our athletes, which will ensure that they remain busy in training. And we are bringing in more experienced international coaches to help our local ones in training our athletes.
“Governor Fashola has approved that some international coaches should come in and help us and also train our coaches further with the athlete. We have programmes for our Under-17 athletes. We also have good incentives for them. We believe that it would be well with Lagos henceforth,” the Hon. Commissioner stated.