Some athletes partaking in the 21st National Sports Festival, dubbed “Nigeria’s Olympics,” have voiced worries about the accommodations, electricity, and transportation plans with over 14,000 of them in attendance.
There were worries that Delta wouldn’t be able to accommodate the largest number of competitors ever at the national event on the scheduled date, but the state finished building the facilities for the event in record time, to the admiration of Nigerians who love sports and sports minister Sunday Dare.
However, in a separate conversation with our correspondent, some of the participants rued the poor arrangement on ground for their contingents.
Team Osun Para-table tennis coach Adigun Mutiu said he had high expectations ahead of the trip to Asaba, but confessed he was now disappointed on his arrival.
“Our expectation is that Asaba will give us the best festival experience, but accommodation has posed a great challenge since we arrived. Can you imagine that we don’t have light and water (in our camp)?
“For some of us from Osun, we feel really bad about that. We aren’t supposed to lack these basic amenities for a day. So far too, we haven’t seen shuttle buses for easy transportation,” he said.
Margaret Chidi from Imo State, a Para-athlete, reiterated Mutiu’s concerns.
“The festival has been okay but the only challenge we have is that the special athletes were not given friendly facilities,” she said.
A female Taekwondo athlete, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also told our correspondent about the discomfort at the Old National Youth Service Corps camp.
“There is no electricity and there are no sockets in the rooms where we are camped,” she said.
“The bathrooms are unisex and the male athletes have been entering the bath place without caution, which is embarrassing. There is also not enough water for all of us to take our bathe. Again, those who get to the bathroom late can’t shower.”
However, another Para-table tennis coach Ilesanmi Olatunji from Ondo State said they were happy with the facilities in their camp.
“The accommodation is okay and the organisation has been fantastic. My personal target here is to win gold for my state in Para-table tennis,” he said.